Seminar to bring awareness to Moral Injury

BELFAST, Maine (WABI) - As Maine deals with the opioid crisis and as our veterans and first responders deal with issues with their mental health, more professionals are helping those dealing with moral injury.

The term is used for the emotional and spiritual pain that can come when an individual feels like they've violated their inner moral code.

Some call it a wound to the conscience.

"We see this across multiple sectors,” explained Richard Hooks Wayman, CEO of Volunteers Across America Northern New England. “First responders, people in healthcare systems, people that may have experienced trauma in their life, addiction have all experienced moral injury."

Officials say the first step in recovery of moral injury is recognition and understanding it.

"There's a real healing that comes as people begin to unpack their reality that they're caring around, said Al Boyce who serves as a chaplain for Volunteers of America. “You can meet someone that feels morally injured and not know the difference because they just shadow it and keep it covered."

To help combat the issue, Volunteers of America Northern New England is raising awareness of moral injury.

The faith-based organization recently launched an ad campaign in New York's Times Square to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day.

Next week, they'll hold a seminar in Augusta to help those struggling. It's open to everyone.

"We have five speakers coming over two days to try and talk about this,” explained Hooks Wayman. “Not only to define what moral injury is but, again how we can help people move beyond it and we think we have some tools to offer that, and Volunteers of America wants to be a resource."

Reverend Al Boyce serves as the lead on the Moral Injury work.

He recently led a national training in California helping folks learn about the principles and approaches to addressing Moral Injury.

He hopes this seminar in Augusta can do the same for others.

"We just want to help every person that's struggling in any way that we can and we know through statistics and fact that moral injury is a key component of helping people heal, both from a psychological and spiritual avenue,” said Boyce.

The seminar is next Thursday, September 19th and runs through the 20th.

To register visit: