Invisible Injury: Beyond PTSD

I’ve written before about mental health comics as a way of coping for the artist. Last week I came across a mental health comic created for a different (just as important) purpose.


(Image via Public Insight Network)

Dr. Jonathan Shay had an issue with the term PTSD. His problem was that it did not cover the full extent of the effects of combat. PTSD is the immediate reactions we face after trauma…the avoidance, reliving, and hyperarousal. But what about the moral implications when we ourselves are the cause of the suffering?

This is not victim blaming. This is when the individual themselves has something to do with causing harm to another, whether forced or on their own. Shay calls it moral injury.


(Image via Robot 6)

To help others understand this issue, Public Insight Network collaborated with WBUR and Symbolia to create a comic. This comic may not come from the personal experience of someone who has been through war, but Andy Warner’s art definitely brings attention to the haunting aspects of the decisions these men made.


(Image via Public Insight Network)

You can see how tormented they are.

Comics like these are important to help simplify complex topics and bring them to the masses. They make very clinical or academic issues accessible to everyone. They can be used as tools for clinicians to help their clients normalize their experiences and understand what is happening to them.

People who have their feelings validated and normalized have better outcomes. These types of comics can help accomplish that.

Sorry for the short post, this comic deserves a full review. I’m still at the end of the semester crunch, but I definitely wanted to bring attention to this beautiful and informative piece of work.

You can read the full comic here. What do you think? Would you use a comic like this to explain tough topics with clients?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top