Lessons learned from living with PTSD: Seminar scheduled for November

October 14, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

ptsd_awarenessribbon■ BY SUE ERWIN
At some point in our lives, most of us will experience trauma, illness and loss. It’s how we react and process these situations that determines whether we’re able to survive and thrive, or if we need to learn new coping skills.
“Lessons Learned from Living,” a new series offered by the Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center, will present “Delayed-Onset Post-Traumatic Stress” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3. The discussion will address the experience of trauma and loss and the inspiration that can follow.
The keynote speaker will be Jonathan Scalone, spiritual care counselor for Hope Healthcare Services. Scalone is a retired Colonel with the United States Air Force, a former licensed psychologist and an outreach chaplain for Hope Hospice. He will talk about the military experience and how it complicates care and treatment during serious illness or at end-of-life situations.
The session will address the symptoms, triggers and treatment of delayed-onset PTSD, and the special needs of veterans. This educational and awareness program will be facilitated by Grace Ott, licensed clinical social worker and co-founder of My Halo, LLC. “This event is about raising awareness within our community of post-traumatic stress. Everyone is encouraged to come, ask questions and learn more about it,” Ott said. “We’ll be discussing positive ways of coping with difficult things that happen in our lives.”
The Social Work Dictionary, authored by Robert Barker, defines PTSD as “a delayed psychological reaction to experiencing an event that is outside the range of usual human experience. Stressful events of this type include accidents, natural disasters, military combat and assault.”
Ott has done a lot of work with people who resided or worked in New York City during and after the 9/11 attacks. “When a new tragedy or life-threatening event occurs, like a terror attack or a plane crash, it can trigger trauma from the past that may still be affecting people,” Ott said. D
ebbie Frank, Friends of Boca Grande Community Center program director, said she has heard Scalone speak before and was impressed with his extensive knowledge of the military experience.
“Even if you are not a veteran or familiar with PTSD, his talk should be very educational and inspiring,” Frank said. While Scalone will be the keynote speaker, Ott’s professional experience in the mental health field will certainly add to the discussion, Frank said.
Hope Healthcare Services also offers a program to recognize our nation’s veterans – particularly those who are coping with a life-limiting illness. Volunteers offer a personalized recognition ceremony. Scalone will discuss details about the program at the event, or call 239-482-4673 for more information.
Since this is a new series, Ott also wanted to add that if people are willing to share their knowledge and experiences about related topics for future presentations, they should contact her directly by calling (941) 964-2167. A question-and-answer session is planned for after the presentation.
“Audience participation is strongly encouraged. We hope people will gain knowledge from each other,” Ott said. For more information, visit friendsofbocagrande.org.