Suicide Prevention, Moral Injury and the Need for Peer to Peer

This older veteran intuitively understands what it takes to deal with moral injury, of remembering and re-membering the psyche of the veteran dealing with moral injury:

If someone is dealing with a moral injury, the answer is not a hospital. The answer is talking with a peer or a member of the clergy. One of the things with moral injury is forgiveness.”

It is this peer to peer, human connection that does not recoil in horror with the images and moral dilemmas that many veterans face that is key, particularly if that person has also been in combat or wrestled with their own demons. It is, not to ‘appropriate’ another culture, the essence of the word namaste (loosely translated: the divine in me sees the divine in you).

This having to remember the horrors of the battlefield over and over is the telos of the suffering, of not forgetting. For only when we are forced to the brink of suffering can the ego be put back in its place and the soul cleansed through ritual forgiveness. John Breska (n.d.) in his poem After the War highlights this forced remembering:

After the War

There’s a tear in the fabric of his being

… Where the memories lie waiting to remind him

… Of the horror and the carnage

That is cataloged as war

Which civilians never see

For it’d shatter their reality

And leave them in a state of what

To call it I don’t know

But it’s tipped the balance

Of the G I Joe

Who comes to calmer waters

Where life’s normal once again

But he’s having trouble fitting in

For he’s shaken bad internally;

it’s a price they paid for defending But the dreams are never ending.

Breska, J. (n.d.). After the war. Retrieved from

It is heartwarming to see my fellow Legionnaire helping fellow veterans step back from the precipice of suicide and find forgiveness. Read the whole article by clicking here.

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