There’s been a subtle shift in the way politicians and advocates talk about veterans struggling with post-war mental illness.
The change has been adopted by former president George W. Bush and President Obama, and it appeared – for what may be the first time – in congressional legislation last week.
To drop the stigma, they’ve dropped the “D” in PTSD.
In recent months, Bush has said publicly he’d no longer use the word “disorder” when discussing veterans’ “post-traumatic stress.” At a White House event for veterans in April, Obama twice spoke about “post-traumatic stress.” He never used the word “disorder.”
“There’s a stigma attached, partly because it’s mislabeled as a disorder,” Bush said at a Chamber of Commerce event last week on veterans employment opportunities. “It’s an injury … it’s treatable.”
Now, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) have matching bills to recognize June as “National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month” and June 27, 2015, as “National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day.” Again, no “disorder.”