Battling Moral Injuries

Servicemen and women in land forces around the world often confront a number of duty-related mental, emotional, and physical hardships. War can inflict many different manifestations of ethical and psychological distress, which fall under the umbrella of ‘moral injury’. Moral Injuries (MI) were first discussed in relation to military personnel transgressing moral beliefs and values during war, but it has since expanded to include equivalent emotional experience by healthcare professionals, first responders, rescue workers, and everyone facing similar complex emotions as a result of actions taken or observations made throughout traumatic circumstances. While moral injury and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been seen to share several symptoms, military, soldiers, clinical psychologists, as well as chaplains are concerned about PTSD’s incapability to account for the substance of moral and ethical distress that battlefields may generate. Modern warfare produces new challenges to the personnel. With the advent of new technologies and the use of drones, the author of a particular action does not directly see the consequences of what he/she has done. This may cause different types of moral injuries since the handler will take longer before realising the magnitude of his gesture.

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