Last week the Pentagon announced that veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will not receive purple hearts for their ailment because it is not a “physical wound”.
“PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event; it is not a wound intentionally caused by the enemy from an ‘outside force or agent,’ but is a secondary effect caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event,” said Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez. The Pentagon also noted the diagnostic difficulty as a reason for the decision.
The news ends the hopes shared by many Veterans of the current US wars that the issuing of the coveted medal to PTSD victims might help to honor their struggles and help to reduce the stigma that surrounds PTSD.
“Historically, the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders or psychological conditions resulting from witnessing or experiencing traumatic combat events (e.g., combat stress reaction, shell-shock, combat stress fatigue, acute stress disorder, or PTSD),” Lainez said. The current decision continues this tradition.
Now the question remains – how will this decision effect the current stigmas surrounding PTSD?