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WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT STATEMENT

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) calls on the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Administration to publicly address the disturbing and highly inappropriate comments made by Major General Dana Pittard that suicide is “an absolutely selfish act” further adding that those soldiers thinking about suicide should “be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us." These comments further compound the already glaring stigma our service members face when dealing with mental health issues. This is exactly the type of attitude that keeps many of our wounded warriors from seeking the help they need and deserve.

Though the statement was later retracted, the silence from the DoD and the Administration speak volumes and discount the great courage it takes for a service member to come forward and admit they are dealing with combat stress or PTSD. We urge the DoD and the Administration to respond with actions.

In fact, our experience has shown us that wounded service men and woman can be even further damaged by sentiments like these expressed from within the DoD system. These brave warriors served our country honorably and many have returned home different people. The invisible wounds of war – traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD – have surpassed the visible as the signature injury in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. WWP has made this a focal point in its mission to honor and empower wounded warriors, and we challenge the DoD and the Administration to immediately reinforce proper attitudes and education on these critical issues. The increase in awareness of this issue will hopefully decrease the stigma attached – stigmas that were only built up by General Pittard’s irresponsible words.

The mental health of this generation of injured veterans is Wounded Warrior Project’s number one priority. Wounded Warrior Project will continue to address those needs through our Combat Stress Recovery Program and pursue the necessary steps to encourage a shift in how we think and deal with mental health.

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