Combat Army Veteran Raven Smith: Moral Injury
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Combat Army Veteran Raven Smith

January 8, 2021 |

Combat Army Veteran Raven Smith thought returning home would be easy, compared to what she endured in Iraq, but it was another battle on its own. After hitting rock bottom, Raven went through a Volunteers of America program to cope with her moral injury. Now, she is helping frontline workers do the same through the COVID crisis.

 

I did two combat tours to Iraq. The transition back into civilian life, from military life was very different than what I expected.

There was this internal damage that I just didn’t know, they don’t prepare you for that part.

Moral injury is an identity crisis and loss of meaning.

So, these events challenge their core moral foundations, and they begin to doubt themselves.

I started, you know, doing drugs, I started day drinking, and I ended up homeless with my daughter.

The stable housing that I live at is through Volunteers of America.

ReST, R-e-S-T stands for resilience strength time, and it’s an hour-long online program for small groups of people who want to share their moral distress and do their work better.

It changed my life. I was like, “How do I become a part of this, you know, I want to become a facilitator, I have to do this, because this is so amazing.”

It’s helped me be hopeful again, it’s helped me go, “Okay, I can do this. I got it, ready to go to work tomorrow.”

You may or may not think that what the frontline workers are experiencing, and veterans have experienced are, you won’t think that there’s any similarities, but there are.

There’s anxiety because the things that you need to do your job well aren’t there and you’re worried about infecting, getting infected yourself or infecting your family.

You know, you go through things in life, and you feel like, “Why is this happening to me?”

But a lot of times, it’s not happening to you it’s happening for you.

I want people to feel and know that they’re not in it alone. We’re all in this together.


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