Veteran's returning home from war often face a long recovery from physical injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but there's another affliction soldiers can suffer from.
Veteran Dr. Michael Russell describes moral injury as the experiences in combat that change their worldview. Dr. Russell, a veteran who served in the Army for 24 years and 9 months, went to Iraq three times and Bosnia once.
"I had a very difficult time returning from war," Russell said. "Every time I came back from war I was a different person than when I left."
Dr. Russell said that when in war a lot of bad things happened. When returning home people have trouble fitting back in because of the things they have done. As a result, Dr. Russell said some feel their actions make them unlovable, unacceptable and unable to fit back in. He believes the term, "moral injury" better captures this feeling.
"Only half the people we treat respond to the normal treatment for PTSD. The other half, they don't get better so obviously, we are missing something. I think this is a piece of what we are missing," Dr. Russell said.
Soldiers suffer moral injuries if what they do in combat goes against their ethics making them question their religious and spiritual beliefs - and even the value of life.
At Waco Veteran's One-Stop, clinicians offer services to treat moral injuries and a whole host of other conditions for veterans in the Central Texas area. On Tuesday, they will be holding a dinner and discussion on the topic, open to clergy, veterans, and their family.
Director of the One-Stop, Delissa Russell, believes that helping families support their Veterans is crucial.
"As a spouse of a veteran and the daughter of a combat veteran, I think that knowing different techniques and different things to say or how to ask or even how to listen could benefit our veterans," Russell said.
Dr. Russell is hoping that talking about the issue will help others deal with it and get help early on.
"I made it through, now I recognize what was going on. Now I would like people to have a softer landing than I," Dr. Russell said.
If you would like to attend the event it is free. It begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Veteran's One-Stop at 2010 LaSalle Ave Waco Texas (254) 297-7171.
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