A Department of Defense (DOD) advisory group has recommended that current DOD policy not be changed to allow Purple Heart medals to be awarded to soldiers stricken with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The current policy bestows the medal only on soldiers who are "physically" wounded in the line of duty.
Read the story in the New York Times and an excellent editorial in the Kansas City Star. DOD's current policy is as much an outrageous "slap in the face" to soldiers and veterans with PTSD as General George Patton's slapping of a soldier with "shell shock" was in World War II.
DOD can still reverse its policy, despite the advisory group's decision. Please contact the Secretary of Defense and tell him it's time to end stigma and discrimination against soldiers with PTSD. Their wounds are real.
The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301-1000
Contact DOD Online
DOD Public Affairs "Leave a Recorded Message" Line
703-428-0711 (not toll-free)
The federal government's "ADS Center" which supports the fight against stigma and discrimination is holding an online teleconference on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (Eastern Time) on how to promote acceptance of people with mental illnesses in the work place.
Registration is free. Anyone can submit questions in advance for speakers to consider. Not all questions will be used in the teleconference, but contact information for speakers will be available. The Center will email registrants further information before that date.
Because of the large number of StigmaBuster messages received, not every one can be answered individually, however, we appreciate every e-mail and do review every stigma report and prioritize them for action.
We also appreciate receiving copies of responses. They are important in helping to coordinate strategy and pursue genuine dialogue. You are our eyes and ears! Your help makes a difference!
Please send reports of stigma to Stella March at firstname.lastname@example.org