NGAUS Gathering Talks PTSD, Purple Heart

NGAUS Washington Report

(April 23, 2013) group concerned with the psychological well-being of veterans will explore how to make those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, eligible for the Purple Heart.

That was the result of a two-hour meeting last week at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Pete Duffy, the acting NGAUS legislative director, said the group formed committees to seek a way ahead. The consensus, he said, is that giving the award for the injury of PTSD will relieve much of the stigma still associated with the problem.

“They all want to keep that alive as a possibility and they want to see if it is doable and explore how to make it doable,” Duffy said after the meeting.

The roundtable included representatives from veterans and mental health organizations, as well as medical experts. The two-hour meeting concluded with the decision to explore closely a strategy to make the medal available to PTSD sufferers.

It would be a big change. The medal now is awarded to anyone wounded or killed in action with an enemy force. Duffy does not expect change to come quickly.

“This is not something that will happen overnight,” he says.

He called the gathering a “productive discussion” and expects another meeting although nothing is planned.