Over the last 12 years, many Soldiers have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with wounds, some visible and some not, said a leader in Army Medicine.
“The invisible wounds — post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury — are just as damaging as the visible ones. They impact the families as well as the Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. John M. Cho, a doctor, and deputy chief of staff for operations with Army Medical Command.
An Iraq war veteran himself, Cho spoke Saturday outside the Capitol in Washington, D.C., as part of National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Day.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, and traumatic brain injury, or TBI, are not just military-specific issues, Cho said. “They deserve a national discussion.”
A big part of that discussion, he said, needs to focus on reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Besides a national discussion, Cho said agencies need to come together, both inside and outside the military, to learn more about identifying and treating PTSD and TBI, as well as preventing it in the first place.
As part of its collaborative effort, the Army is participating in a $60 million research study for TBI, sponsored by the National Football League, General Electric and Under Armour, he said.