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On Grief, Moral Injury and Mental Health


My grief over losing my father is compounded by moral injury , both of which impact mental health
My father, Mohamed El-Gamal, circa 2012

February 12th was my father's birthday and also the anniversary of his death. In his memory, and in light of what is happening in the world, I wanted to talk to you about how global events can compound personal grief.


Traumatic domestic or global events can trigger multiple layers of grief in us, which we are not always equipped to deal with.


Whether it's the war in Israel and Gaza, the broader Middle East, the conflict in Sudan, upcoming elections that could negatively affect women and minorities, or the climate crisis, the world simply feels upside down. And so even as you experience grief over a personal loss, if you care about domestic or global issues you may also be grieving the loss of a job for speaking out, a sense of safety in your own home, university or country, or the loss of justice, accountability, fairness and basic humanity, even wondering if they ever existed at all.


These feelings are valid and real and they have a name: Moral Injury. This is when a person feels their values or moral compass have been violated when they take part in, witness, or fail to prevent an act they deem as immoral, unjust or unprincipled.


Moral injury is extremely important to understand because, along with grief, it manifests in ways that affect our mental health through feelings of guilt, shame, anger, sadness, a loss of interest in life, and more.


So if this is happening to you, please know that you are not alone and that there are ways to address moral injury so that you feel capable in showing up for yourself, your loved ones, your job and your community.


In my next blog post, I will delve deeper into moral injury and share resources on how to recognize and address it, including tips of employers on how they can support their staff through difficult times.


In the meantime, please look after yourselves and as always, feel free to reach out through the contact button on this website.


In empathy,

Jasmine



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