Featured Story: Volunteers of America

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Volunteers of America, a 123-year-old faith-based nonprofit that provides affordable housing and other assistance to those in need throughout the United States, presented The Richards Group with an important challenge: reenergize the Volunteers of America brand by announcing their commitment to moral injury care.

While moral injury is a common academic term, it’s not yet known to the public. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 82 percent of Americans aren’t aware of the term. Imagine a soldier who takes a life in the line of duty, a first responder who believes he could’ve done more, or a nurse who blames herself for losing a patient. These are some of the many people who struggle with moral injury.

Different from fear-induced post-traumatic stress, moral injury is the anguish caused by believing you’ve done something wrong or against your ethics. For some people, it’s all-consuming. The guilt, shame, and anger can lead to addiction, isolation and, in some cases, suicide.

We chose to educate the public about moral injury with a metaphor. According to Rita Brock, PhD, one of the foremost authorities on the condition, those who are struggling with moral injury often feel at war with themselves. It’s as if they’re constantly battling to contain an evil twin. For that reason, we’re calling moral injury “The War Inside.” Volunteers of America CEO Mike King hopes our work will “help people understand moral injury…and ultimately save lives.”

Volunteers of America, a 123-year-old faith-based nonprofit that provides affordable housing and other assistance to those in need throughout the United States, presented The Richards Group with an important challenge: reenergize the Volunteers of America brand by announcing their commitment to moral injury care.

While moral injury is a common academic term, it’s not yet known to the public. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 82 percent of Americans aren’t aware of the term. Imagine a soldier who takes a life in the line of duty, a first responder who believes he could’ve done more, or a nurse who blames herself for losing a patient. These are some of the many people who struggle with moral injury.

Different from fear-induced post-traumatic stress, moral injury is the anguish caused by believing you’ve done something wrong or against your ethics. For some people, it’s all-consuming. The guilt, shame, and anger can lead to addiction, isolation and, in some cases, suicide.

We chose to educate the public about moral injury with a metaphor. According to Rita Brock, PhD, one of the foremost authorities on the condition, those who are struggling with moral injury often feel at war with themselves. It’s as if they’re constantly battling to contain an evil twin. For that reason, we’re calling moral injury “The War Inside.” Volunteers of America CEO Mike King hopes our work will “help people understand moral injury…and ultimately save lives.”