It is widely known that veterans can return from war with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Far less appreciated is moral injury – a trauma wrapped up in guilt that we are now learning more about thanks to US-based research, writes James Jeffrey.
Moral injury most often occurs when a person commits, fails to prevent or witnesses an act that is anathema to their moral beliefs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs website likens it to psychological trauma involving “extreme and unprecedented life experience”, that can lead to “haunting states of inner conflict and turmoil”.
US-based research into moral injury is now illuminating how such injuries can impact people in all walks of life, but especially first responders and healthcare workers facing the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Amid reports of New York City’s emergency services getting overwhelmed and states struggling to provide enough ventilators, first responders and healthcare workers potentially face having to decide who gets a ventilator and who gets saved – something one nurse has described as “her biggest fear”.
Read more: BBC