Moral injury is a specific kind of trauma that can happen when when people face situations that deeply violate their conscience or threaten their core values. This blog for Scientific American looks at the experience of ER doctor Torree McGowan when the Delta wave of Covid-19 hit the central Oregon region where she works. It examines the impact that moral injury has had on her mental health and her relationship with patients. The author looks at how Covid-19 hugely increased the incidence of moral injury as people in frontline roles faced ethically wrenching dilemmas every day.
The growing realisation that moral injury is a separate diagnosis to other conditions such as PTSD and depression is resulting in a wider range of treatments and trauma therapies. Many of these treatments encourage people to face moral conflicts head-on rather than blotting them out or explaining them away, and they emphasize the importance of community support in long-term recovery.
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