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I've heard of PTSD but what is OSI?

Updated: Apr 12

Operational Stress Injury is a non-medical, non-clinical term referring to persistent psychological difficulty caused by traumatic experiences or prolonged stress or fatigue during service as a military member or first responder.

Military members experiencing wartime trauma may suffer debilitating psychological effects from their experiences, and historical research has found literary references to these psychological packs throughout recorded history. During the First World War era, psychological symptoms suffered by soldiers of war came to be referred to as “shell shock”. This progressed by the Second World War to being called “battle fatigue”, or “combat stress reaction”. As research continued and the understanding of psychology and psychiatry advanced, it gradually became more understood through the 20th century that experiencing trauma could have a variety of psychological and emotional impacts that were generally medical in nature. Increasingly, research focused on developing clinical definitions and exploring options for treatments and therapies. The term ‘posttraumatic stress disorder’ (PTSD), was developed for inclusion in the DSM-III in the 1980’s. (

Although very much used to describe the symptoms experienced by wartime veterans, the term has become broadly used for many people who have experienced trauma of a variety of different kinds. The concept of Operational Stress Injury is still emerging and the word injury has been incorporated to assist with positioning the experience to be like a physical injury and removing some of the stigma associated with mental illness.

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