Health and mobility problems can feel isolating, and that sense of isolation can grow deeper when the problem, such as long COVID, isn't readily apparent to others. APTA's newest public service announcement speaks directly to that sense of isolation by offering a hopeful message: You're not alone — physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are there to help you on your journey back to health.
The newest PSA from APTA is targeted at anyone experiencing a health challenge that could benefit from physical therapy — with long COVID, a condition PTs are increasingly treating, cited as just one example. The announcement will be released to television and radio stations across the country in 60-second, 30-second, and 15-second versions.
The video version of the PSA tracks a woman as she moves from feeling alone with her health condition to a sense of reconnection through a recovery process that includes physical therapy, with a dramatization that features a cast that reflects diversity in gender, age, and ability. Even the audio-only versions make a clear statement: Physical therapy is for everyone. APTA members Monique Caruth, PT, DPT; Cathy Elrod, PT, PhD; Shyanne RedBear, SPT; and Mike Reing, PT, MSPT, appear in the video.
This is the fourth PSA APTA has produced in 2016. As in previous PSAs, the newest announcement is clearly branded as a product of APTA, and urges viewers and listeners to visit ChoosePT.com, the association's consumer-facing website, for more information and to locate a physical therapist through the site's Find a PT locator. And if previous APTA PSAs are any indication, the impact will be wide: The association's previous PSA on the importance of physical activity received 895 airings across the country, reaching an estimated 76 million people. During that same time, ChoosePT.com set a new record for web traffic, with 5 million visitors during 2022.
Combined, the PSAs, ChoosePT.com, and other outreach efforts such as the series of full-page ads published in the New York Times in 2022, are contributing to a marked increase in the public's understanding of physical therapy and the expertise of PTs and PTAs. A 2022 APTA report on consumer attitudes showed a deepening knowledge of the role PTs can play in injury prevention, pain reduction, recovery from surgery, and improved range of motion, among other positive trends.
APTA CEO Justin Moore, PT, DPT, believes the PSAs aren't just a wise investment — they're also a needed public service.
"Increasing the public's access to and understanding of physical therapy is central to our mission, and PSAs like the one we've just released do an excellent job of delivering that message in a compelling way," Moore said. "But just as important is reaching people who may feel hopeless and alone in their health struggles to let them know that PTs and PTAs are there to help."