• Joe Palmer

Moral Injury: It's Time to Re-Evaluate



For a number of years I was involved with the not for profit Military Outreach USA. As Executive Director and then President I investigated and researched the topic of Moral Injury writing a book titled "They Don't Receive Purple Hearts". At the time of that writing the topic of moral injury was under much discussion in the academic community. Theories of cause were offered but with few treatment suggestions and concluding that more research was needed. Military Outreach USA believed that it would be only through the faith-based community that those who suffer a moral injury would find relief. This conclusion fit into the then mission of Military Outreach USA. At the time, that conclusion, for the most part, would have been generally true.


However much has changed and been learned since I first wrote that book in 2015. Moral injury has been studied more completely and numerous papers have been written on the subject offering many sources "of relief" other than those suggested by Military Outreach USA. The book, however, is still of extreme value...up to a point. A new publication will be forthcoming expanding on subjects that include additional "stressors" which revolve around social isolation and loneliness. These stressors can and often are major contributors to a moral injury.


Thus, moral injury needs to be evaluated again in light of these new stressors. It is also important to expand beyond the faith based community in seeking relief for those who suffer from a moral injury. Moral injury can stand alone as a separate condition. However, it is often accompanied by other contributing factors which need to be addressed at the same time.


A re-evaluation of what some term to be simply a violation of a moral code need to include other elements to fully understand a complicated and increasingly difficult topic.


#moralinjury #ptsd #loneliness #socialisolation



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