More than 30 centuries ago, long before even the written word Homer talked about combat stress in his epic poems on the Trojan War.
During the Civil War soldiers were removed from the front and considered for disability and pensions for Soldiers Heart or “nostalgia”, but in reality combat stress during that time was considered a form of insanity.
By 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, combat stress and its civilian counterpart, “railway spine” had actually risen to the position of being considered physical ailments that deserved medical treatment.
Medical conceptualization of combat stress reached its zenith. By the summer of 1916, the brutal trench warfare on the Western Front had produced an epidemic of shell shock among French and British troops, and “nervenshock” among Germans troops which was draining the treasuries and manpower pools on both sides. To address this crisis, Kaiser Wilhelm directed the German Association of Psychiatry to convene a special War Congress.
After briefly discussing the evidence, these leading psychiatrists of their day settled the debate by declaring –“Persistent distress or functional impairment following exposure to a traumatic stressor could only occur in individuals already afflicted with the pre-existing personality weakness that they termed hysteria”.
Subsequently, the German government was relieved of its responsibility to pay disability pensions to veterans sufferingfrom combat stress, while commanders in the field were no longer obligated to evacuate stress casualties from the front.
The term “hysteria” was never intended to be a neutral label. It was chosen to be intentionally stigmatizing, especially when applied to male service members who understood it to be a feminizing term.
The French and English and later the Americans also adopted the doctrine. The term shell shock was dropped and there was a drastic reduction in the evacuation of stress casualties along with the responsibilities of paying compensation fees.
As a result of these new tenets the rates of wartime psychiatric evacuations during the 20th century fell to approximately 10% in WWII, 3.7% in the Korean War and barely 1.2% in Vietnam.
Post-traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) is a condition that can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events leading to disturbing recurring flashbacks, numbing of memories of the event, and high levels of anxiety that continue for more than a month after the traumatic event.
Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is commonly known as a concussion.
These invisible wounds can and do cause physical, cognitive and emotional dysfunction.
According to the casualty report of December 31, 2012 by the Congressional Research Service, the number of visible wounds recorded for the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars was 50,450.
The number of invisible wounds diagnosed at that point was 357,122 and growing.
The visibly wounded have all received the best medical attention available anywhere. Largely due to the stigma of invisible wounds less than 20% of veterans carrying them have sought treatment.
Until we honor invisible wounds with the same respect as the visible we cannot expect the veterans carrying these wounds to step forward and voluntarily ask for help.
Until we honor these invisible wounds with the same respect as the visible we cannot eliminate the associated shame.
Until we are able to get veterans carrying these wounds to voluntarily step forward without shame we cannot get adequate treatment to all who need it.
Until we are able to adequately treat all veterans carrying invisible wounds we cannot expect to stop the epidemic of suicide now decimating the their ranks
Honor for ALL is dedicated to seeing that all veterans suffering from invisible wounds receive the care and respect they are due.
Our goal is national awareness of the true nature all invisible wounds.
Our goal is to leave no one behind, on the field of battle or in our midst.
Our goal is to conquer stigma, safeguard families, and prevent suicide.
Our Mission is to preserve life and dignity through:
Research – support new research into brain function, illness and injury;
Reason – dissolve stigma through education;
Recognition – establish parity for all combat wounds, visible and invisible
Honor for ALL is a not-for-profit national veterans’ service organization formed to promote and establish visible recognition, honor, acceptance, comfort, and healing for all past and present service members afflicted with Posttraumatic Stress and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Research – new research into brain function, illness and injury
Reason – embrace and educate the public sector
Reward - parity for wounds received in action against an enemy of the United States, visible and invisible. Leave no one behind on the field of battle or among the gathering of honored veteran
“A nation that forgets its defenders soon will be forgotten” …. Calvin Coolidge
“The energy, the faith, the devotion, which we bring to this endeavor will light this country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world” .…. John F. Kennedy
“PTS (Posttraumatic Stress) is a combat injury, Veterans suffering from PTS deserve the same dignity and respect as our fellow Wounded Warriors” …. Raymond T, Odierno, Chief of Staff, US Army 2011-15