The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Alliance
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Alliance

The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Alliance is the first national coalition dedicated to increasing awareness and promoting a better understanding of PTSD among the general public and medical, healthcare and other “frontline” professionals.

Paul Holmes


The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Alliance is the first national coalition dedicated to increasing awareness and promoting a better understanding of PTSD among the general public and medical, healthcare and other “frontline” professionals who deal with trauma victims about PTSD.  

The PTSD Alliance includes four national organizations: the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and The Sidran Traumatic Stress Foundation.  


Research shows that despite its prevalence – affecting one out of 13 Americans - PTSD is not widely understood among the general public or professionals who deal with those at risk for developing PTSD.  PTSD is a complex disorder stereotypically associated with war veterans.  However, anyone who has experienced or witnessed a life-threatening traumatic event or psychologically distressing situation is at risk for PTSD.  Women and twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.  

PTSD sufferers often do not seek professional help because they don’t associate their symptoms with past trauma, they avoid dealing with anything related to the traumatic event, or they feel helpless as to where to go for help; PTSD is the fifth most common psychiatric disorder.  PTSD sufferers have high rates of health service utilization as a result of being repeatedly misdiagnosed and undiagnosed.


To increase awareness and promote a better understanding of PTSD among the general public and medical, healthcare and other “frontline” professionals who deal with trauma victims and PTSD sufferers.

Misinformation, misdiagnosis and mistreatment abound in the PTSD arena.  It is important to educate both consumers and professionals that PTSD is a “real” disorder 

Early intervention is important, and wider and increased recognition is critical for early intervention by the consumer and the physician. Without help, sufferers can develop chronicity, comorbidity and secondary complications that have severe long-term implications 


Reach consensus among four national non-profit organizations regarding the mission of the Alliance, and the strategy and content of all materials developed on behalf of the Alliance.  

Change the perceptions of the public that PTSD is a disorder that can affect anyone, not only war veterans.

Establish an organizational structure that represents PTSD as a common cause while maintaining the best interest of each member organization and their respective missions.  


Appropriate organizations were identified.  Representatives from each organization were invited together to discuss the feasibility of establishing the PTSD Alliance public and professional education initiatives.

With funding provided through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Inc, the goal of the Alliance was to provide easy access to the wealth of practical information, expertise and resources available from each of the member organizations.  Working in concert, the Alliance could reach a broad cross-section of professionals who deal with at-risk individuals and PTSD sufferers on the front line, as well as to patients, trauma survivors and their family and friends.

The proposed structure for the Alliance would allow the four organizations to synergistically draw on each other’s strengths to maximize reach and distribution of resources to different but relevant audiences through existing networks without creating redundancy or waste of resources.  

Key to establishing a foundation for the new Alliance, core program components were developed including the PTSD Alliance logo, mission statement and key messages, media kit, and identification and training of spokespersons representing the four organizations. 


PTSD Alliance Resource Center –The national resource center (877-507-PTSD) serves as a clearinghouse for educational booklets and patient video, and resources and referral information from the member organizations.  Since launch, some 5,000 callers have contacted the PTSD Alliance Resource Center. 

Web Site - (to be launched in mid-February) offers information and resources to consumers and professionals, links to the member organizations and other relevant resources and links.  To date, the Alliance has received some 300 requests to be notified at the time the site is launched.

Patient Education Booklet: “Hope For Recovery: Understanding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”  In clear language this 8-page booklet, available free of charge, seeks to dispel PTSD myths.

Patient Education Video: The documentary-style video portrays the personal stories of PTSD patients interwoven with professional guidance offered by experts from the Alliance member organizations.

Professional Guide: “PTSD: A Guide for Frontline Professionals”  This booklet provides an overview of PTSD as well as practical assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support strategies.  Professionals can receive multiple copies of the consumer booklet and video for patients.


An announcement teleconference held on March 7, 2000 marked the national launch of public and professional education campaigns.  Media components of the education campaigns have generated more than 131,028,310 media impressions (not including internet presence) since launch in March 2000.  

Alliance Announcement: The announcement focused on PTSD as a common, serious but treatable health condition.  Each of the Alliance members participated in the teleconference, which was moderated by a leading PTSD thought leader. 

Media highlights included Jane Brody’s participation and subsequent feature of the Alliance (including the 877-number) in the The New York Times Personal Health column.

To date, articles and Alliance mentions have appeared in approximately 28 daily newspapers including Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Orange County Register, Houston Chronicle, Detroit News, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; coverage in ReutersHealth, Woman’s World, Good Morning America, American Nurse, Drug Topics, Consultant Pharmacist.

Ongoing Media Outreach: Media relations activities initiated in late 2000 to publicize the availability of PTSD Alliance booklets has resulted in placements including the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Detroit News,, and Psychiatric News.

Public Education Campaign: Media Kit, distributed at the time of launch and in response to media inquiries.

Television Public Service Announcement, including 30- and 60-second spots highlighting the different risk factors and symptoms of PTSD.  The PSA has had more than 1,000 airings and more than 100 national broadcast feeds by ABC Network, reaching total audience of 15,102,500 viewers.

Video News Release, leveraging media interest in domestic violence month, the VNR focused on the personal story of an abuse survivor and utilized Alliance members to act as spokespeople.  To date, the VNR has had 22 airings in 11 markets, with a total audience of 1.5 million viewers

Audio News Release, publicizing the 877 resource center number, the ANR had a audience of 4,316,800 

Syndicated Mat Release, about PTSD has resulted in 12 million media impressions 

Professional Education Campaign: Medical Meeting Support including coordination and staffing of the PTSD Alliance booth at nine medical/healthcare meetings in 2000 reaching an approximate combined attendance of 60,000.

Trade Ads announcing the toll free number and web site encourage “frontline” professionals to learn more about PTSD.  In 2000, ads ran six publications including American Family Physician, Nurse Practitioner. 

Third Party Outreach to collaborate with target third party professional and advocacy organizations to offer PTSD Alliance resources and experts.  


The PTSD Alliance has been well-received by the general public and professionals who work with PTSD sufferers and those at risk.  Anecdotally, responses from professionals (primarily garnered at the Alliance booth at medical meetings) has been one of sincere gratitude to the Alliance members for their involvement and resources, and to Pfizer for its ongoing support of this initiative.  Additionally, The PTSD Alliance also has received queries as to how other third parties can become “members” of the Alliance.

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