As the nation prepares to commemorate Veteran’s Day, a significant shift in the discourse surrounding mental health is on the horizon. Advocates are pushing for a change in terminology, replacing “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) with “Post Traumatic Stress Injury” (PTSI) in an effort to reduce stigma and encourage more individuals to seek treatment. The group leading this charge, “Honor For All,” is comprised of Vietnam veterans who understand that the impact of trauma extends far beyond the battlefield.  

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One of the driving forces behind this movement is Kent Hall, a former Sergeant in Phu Bai with the 220th RAC during the tumultuous year of 1969. Kent has silently battled PTSD for decades, initially unaware of his condition, and even teetered on the precipice of suicide.

Kent Hall, Thomas Mahany and Bob Young

Kent Hall (left), Thomas Mahany (right) and Bob Young (back left),a former Williamston, Michigan Police Chief, hold an Honor For All meeting at the kitchen table to discuss their efforts to change Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Post Traumatic Stress Injury. | Photo by One Detroit

Thanks to his connection with Doug Price, Thomas Mahany, and Dr. Frank Ochberg at Honor For All, Kent has not only come to understand his struggle but now dedicates his time to educating others. He shares his experiences and insights, emphasizing that PTSD is not a weakness, but a wound that deserves healing, with the goal of helping veterans and their families find the support they need. 

A 2014 Michigan Proclamation for Post Traumatic Stress Injury

A 2014 Michigan Proclamation, signed by former Gov. Rick Snyder, marks Post Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day. Veteran Thomas Mahany has collected resolutions like this one from several other states across the nation. | Photo by One Detroit

The debate surrounding the renaming of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) hinges on more than just semantics. While both terms encompass the same set of symptoms, the crucial distinction lies in their conceptualization. PTSD traditionally defines these symptoms as a disorder, while PTSI reimagines them as a biological injury. Mental health experts have long recognized physical alterations in the nervous system in PTSD, and some argue that the change in terminology could alter public perception of the condition and reduce stigmas around it.

One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota explores these issues and more in his conversation with Honor For All activists and mental health experts, shedding light on a movement that may change the landscape of mental health support for veterans and several other groups affected by the condition.

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