New PTSD Free Online Movie 'Helping People Understand You Have PTSD' -- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Vicarious Trauma

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New Free Online Movie just released at helps people understand you have PTSD and how they can help you. It is a great resource for post traumatic stress disorder sufferers, including 9/11 WTC workers and volunteers, featuring Dr. Patricia Sherman, leading PTSD social worker.

Dr. Patricia Sherman Photo

During a time of need, being a volunteer or worker can be an immensely rewarding endeavor. It's essential that it not become a dangerous one as well.

Dr. Patricia Sherman offers a four-minute free online movie "PTSD: Helping People Understand You Have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" at

PTSD in the U.S. population is roughly 4 percent at any given time. Vicarious trauma in volunteers and workers in crisis situations is rising. Studies show 21.2 percent of WTC workers and volunteers, without disaster training or prior experience, experience post traumatic stress disorder," said Dr. Patricia Sherman, PTSD expert at

"It can be difficult for others to acknowledge you have been traumatized. Often people try to cope with their feelings by denying or being blind to what you are telling them. They may also be feeling angry at whatever or whoever hurt you. This PTSD free online movie at gives you steps to help others understand you have post traumatic stress disorder and know how they can help you," says Dr. Patricia Sherman.

Causes of PTSD, Compassion Fatigue or Vicarious Trauma in Volunteers and Workers

Volunteers and workers who serve victims experiencing pain and loss may develop a traumatic response called vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue, left unchecked, could develop into post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).

Symptoms include:

  •     Intrusive images and thoughts,
  •     Hyper vigilance,
  •     Fear,
  •     Numbing,
  •     Difficulty sleeping,
  •     Irritability
  •     Anger or angry outbursts
  •     Depression
  •     Difficulty in relationships

Some volunteers and workers may deal with symptoms in unhealthy ways:

  •     Excessive drinking,
  •     Withdrawn or self-destructive behaviors
  •     Using illicit drugs
  •     Over- or under-eating.

Prevention of Vicarious Trauma in Volunteers and Workers
According to Dr. Patricia Sherman, "Disaster preparedness and training is necessary for all emergency responders, including civilian volunteers."

Here are steps Dr Patricia Sherman recommends that could help minimize PTSD, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue in future disasters:

  •     Rotate shift to reduce duration of service at emergency sites.
  •     Ensure adequate training and ongoing supervision.
  •     Establish mental-health services to address the needs of workers and volunteers who have received less disaster training than police and fire staff.
  •     Communicate honestly regarding what workers and volunteers can expect may help develop coping strategies.
  •     Tell volunteers and workers emotional reactions are expected and normal can prepare workers and volunteers to ask for help.

Volunteer supervisors have huge responsibilities during screening, training and ongoing support.

Regular group and/or individual meetings between volunteers and supervisors can provide for debriefings and evaluation of volunteers' states of emotional strength. Teaching and reinforcing the necessity for self-care is an essential aspect of good supervision, according to Dr. Patricia Sherman at her blog

Treatment of Vicarious Trauma in Volunteers and Workers

Dr. Patricia Sherman says, "The primary treatment for those volunteers and workers experiencing vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue or post traumatic stress disorder is to temporarily refrain from the activities that precipitated the condition -- something many volunteers and workers don't want to do during a crisis."

If vicarious traumatization or compassion fatigue is caught early, a brief break involving rest and recreation may be all that's needed. If allowed to progress, longer periods of recovery will likely be needed.

During recovery unhealthy coping mechanisms need to be addressed. Treatment for substance abuse may be necessary.

Dr. Patricia Sherman reminds, "During a time of need, being a volunteer or worker can be an immensely rewarding endeavor. It's essential that it not become a dangerous one as well."

About Dr. Patricia Sherman

Dr. Patricia Sherman is assistant professor of social work and Director of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Kean University. She received her master's and doctorate degrees in social work from Rutgers University.

Dr. Patricia Sherman is a sought-after speaker on topics ranging from bereavement, child sexual abuse, cultural proficiency and how to care for yourself while caring for others. Dr. Patricia Sherman provides consultation to therapists and first responders who work with those who have suffered personal trauma.

Dr. Patricia Sherman's blog at is a safe place for those who treat children or adult trauma survivors to ask questions and share insights.

About is a blog, podcasting and online movie community of cultural leaders providing free guidance and training to over 100,000 people and businesses a month helping them solve problems, make decisions, create and live from love and light in the highest good for all.

For free trainings, podcasts and online movies from experts go to

For information on how to help others and be chosen as a Keyboard Culture Expert, email or call 715-868-1110.

For more information on Dr. Patricia Sherman or, please call 715-868-1110, see our blog community or email.

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