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Exploring the Impact of Modern Warfare: What It Means When Veterans Suffer From Moral Injury

Boston’s WBUR, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network and Symbolia Collaborate on Special News Series – Debuts Monday, June 24

One-third of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan say they’ve experienced some kind of mental health issue. While this manifests itself in many forms, veterans who’ve been part of something that betrayed their sense of “right and wrong” often find themselves grappling with guilt and remorse so intense that researchers are trying to better understand it. They call it “moral injury,” and it results from having done something — or failed to stop something from happening — that violated the veteran’s personal moral code.

Boston’s WBUR, American Public Media’s Public Insight Network (PIN) and Symbolia magazine embarked upon a special reporting project to explore moral injury. A visually arresting digital comic book, illustrated by Andy Warner of Symbolia, was created to serve as a “primer” and lay the foundation for the resulting series of special news reports. The comic book is online now at and PIN.

The full “Moral Injury” news series launches today with daily on-air and online segments from reporters Martha Bebinger (WBUR), Jeff Severns Guntzel (PIN) and Samara Freemark (PIN) on WBUR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. The series, composed of five segments, will last the entire week.

The series developed from PIN’s ongoing work talking to veterans about their experiences moving on from war and pioneering work from psychiatrist Jonathan Shay and psychologist Brett Litz, leading researchers on the condition. The Public Insight Network invites veterans to help journalists report more on this topic by sharing their own experiences in a short, confidential questionnaire.

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