Invisible Wounds of War and Perceptions of Veterans

Invisible Wounds of War and Perceptions of Veterans

New Survey Conducted by SSRS for the George W. Bush Presidential Center

This week, in honor of Veterans Day, the Bush Center will feature a series of posts that highlight the strength and resilience of the brave men and women who volunteered to wear our Nation’s uniform.  

Today, we hear from Colonel Matt Amidon, Deputy Director of the Military Service Initiative, about why seeking help for an invisible wound of war is a sign of strength.

All of these historic terms point to the tremendous toll that combat can take on the physical and mental well-being of our warriors and their families. For those who have worn the nation’s cloth and been placed in harm’s way, it is largely indisputable that one can somehow remain unchanged by these profound experiences. Combat, the deliberate taking of human life, and the horrors of war all imprint an enduring image on the psyche and the body.

Combat, the deliberate taking of human life, and the horrors of war all imprint an enduring image on the psyche and the body.

In order to better understand some of the impacts these may have on our warriors and their families, the Military Service Initiative conducted two surveys with our partners at SSRS. This research entailed surveying post-9/11 veterans in the U.S. as well as adults in the general population in the U.S., the UK, and Canada in order to gain a better understanding of how people think about post-9/11 veterans and their perceptions of the issues post-9/11 veterans face regarding post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Over 2.8 million of our post-9/11 warriors have deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Over 52,000 have sustained visible wounds. But the number of warriors dealing with the invisible wounds of war, inclusive of TBI, PTSD and other psychological health conditions may be as much as six times larger.