Thursday, January 8, 2009

Purple Heart is ruled out for traumatic stress

Thanks for your time soldier, now deal with it! Not on our list of illnesses......

That is essentially what the Pentagon is telling some 300,000 sufferers of PTSD.

According to a NY Times story today, "a Pentagon advisory group decided against the award because, it said, the condition had not been intentionally caused by enemy action, like a bomb or bullet, and because it remained difficult to diagnose and quantify.
“Historically, the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders or psychological conditions resulting from witnessing or experiencing traumatic combat events,” said Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “Current medical knowledge and technologies do not establish PTSD as objectively and routinely as would be required for this award at this time.”
One in five service members, or at least 300,000, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, according to a Rand Corporation study in 2008.
For some soldiers suffering from the disorder, the historical distinction between blood and no blood in an injury fails to recognize the depths of their mental scars. A modern war — one fought without safe havens and with the benefit of improved armor — calls for a new definition of injuries, some veterans say."

Those of us with a mental illness continue to be stymied by society's lack of sympathy and even understanding of our illnesses.

I know of abuse victims who suffer from PTSD - years later, their lives are fractured, they are unable to trust openly and have difficulty in relationships and jobs, just like the military Vets with PTSD.

The mental health community needs to lobby - and hard to correct this grave injustice.

If you need help:

Or call your local VA hospital.

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