Thursday, March 24, 2011

The District Attorneys Support Veterans

After the Civil War, Americans called it “irritable heart;” following World War I, we called it “shell shock;” then, after World War II, we named it “battle fatigue;” but it was not until 1980 that the medical community gave it a clinical name, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”  The phenomenon has changed little in 150 years, but it is clear that society must change the way it deals with PTSD.
The District Attorneys are committed to changing the way society treats veterans and PTSD.  Over the last year, Norfolk District Attorney Keating served as the MDAA representative to the Special Legislative Commission to Study and Investigate the Hidden Wounds of War on Massachusetts Service Members. 
District Attorney Keating represented the District Attorneys on this commission because of his extensive work with the veteran community.  District Attorney Keating’s work includes:

  • Co-hosting a community summit with the Department of Veterans Affairs to raise awareness on readjustment issues for our returning combat soldiers;  
  • Partnering with SOFAR (Strategic Outreach For All Reservists), which is an alliance of counselors that provide pro bono services for the families of deployed members of Guard and Reserve units; and
  • Creating a training resource with the Department of Veteran Affairs for first responders, known as the “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” training.  
The goal of the “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” training is to provide immediate and appropriate intervention to a veteran experiencing PTSD or other adjustment disorder by educating firefighters, police officers and ambulance personnel.  District Attorney Keating has provided the training DVD to every first-responder agency in Norfolk County, and it is posted on  The training DVD has been sent to law enforcement, military, social service and clinical staff in more than 15 states, and several states have implemented similar first-responder training. 
The Special Legislative Commission to Study and Investigate the Hidden Wounds of War on Massachusetts Service Members issued its report in January 2009, recommending a comprehensive approach to address the challenges of new combat veterans readjusting to society.  A key recommendation is to adopt the “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” training statewide.  The District Attorneys support any effort to assist veterans and to educate the community about PTSD.

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