#51: How to Heal a Moral Injury – Helping Healthcare Workers Heal Mental Wounds in the Aftermath of Coronavirus with Dr Dominic Murphy

06 May 2020

In today’s episode I talk to Head of Research at Combat Stress - Dr Dominic Murphy.

Combat Stress are the UKs leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For a century they have been helping former servicemen and women deal with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

Today they provide specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict to give them hope and a future.

I think it would be a pragmatic choice to start discussing the mental implications of COVID- 19 on healthcare workers that have not only witnessed events but may have been involved in some huge decisions that challenge our moral code.

I’m sure that you will find our discussion today really interesting and thought provoking.

On the podcast, we talk about:

  • Dominic’s work as a Clinical Psychologist and PTSD with war veterans
  • The extent of PTSD and predisposing factors
  • What is a moral injury?
  • The relationship between moral injury and PTSD
  • Why look at moral injury - why do some people not respond well to gold standard treatments for PTSD
  • What are we doing in the UK to explore moral injury
  • Is moral injury relevant during the current COVID-19 crisis?
  • Preventative measures with food, alcohol and exercise
  • The prevalence of PTSD before the pandemic and what needs to change in both the culture of medicine and access to care


Please do be sure to check out the Combat Stress website where they have some fantastic resources and support available and also look up their social media pages - links below.

You’ll also find links below to the papers that Dominic and I discussed on the podcast.

I do hope that you find this episode informative and useful at this time, and I would really love your feedback on the episodes that we are sharing here.  Let me know on our Instagram, Facebook & Twitter pages. Please do give us a 5* rating on your podcast player if you enjoyed today’s episode.

We’re also going to be doing some more ‘Ask Me Anything’ episodes in the coming weeks too - so if you have any questions whatsoever - then again please do share these on my Instagram, Facebook & Twitter pages and the team will be collating all the questions and we’ll answer as many as we possibly can.

And don’t forget to subscribe to The Doctor’s Kitchen newsletter where we will be continuing to share weekly science based recipes and tips to help you live the healthiest and happiest lifestyle possible.


"But on the other side actually, this is a time where the NHS is working together.  Its working at its maximum efficiency and its important to remember that most people who get COVID-19 get better.  They do recover, they do leave hospital and its important to recognise that too"

Dr Dominic Murphy

Well what another great podcast guest and a super interesting conversation - and I think three great takeaways from our conversation today are :
  • Awareness - that we may all be suffering with traumatic events at this time
  • Access -  recognising that there are access to treatments and looking into what might be available for us
  • Prevention - what can we do as healthcare professionals within our teams
Some of the organisations who can provide support at this time are noted below:
National Trauma Society
Clinical resources for NHS staff & the general public
Large scale research study exploring the needs of NHS staff
National NHS Staff Support Service:
Check out the video with Dominic on my YouTube channel here:

GUEST: Dr Dominic Murphy

  • Dominic gained his first degree, an MA in psychology from Glasgow University in 2003. He then joined King’s College London as part of the team that established the Kings Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) and setup an ongoing UK military study following the 2003 Iraq War.
Dominic earned his doctorate at KCL exploring vaccinations and medically unexplained symptoms in military personnel in 2010. Dominic then trained as a Clinical Psychologist and completed his clinical doctorate at Royal Holloway University in 2013. In 2013, Dominic joined Combat Stress (a national veterans mental health charity in the UK) where he established and now leads a research department specialising in veteran’s mental health. The Combat Stress research department is co-located within the KCMHR where Dominic continues to be a member. Dominic is part of the Forces in Mind Trust mental health steering group, editor for a number of journals and member of several international military mental health research consortiums. In 2019, he was elected the President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society (UKPTS) and onto the executive board of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS). Dominic has specialised clinically and academically within the field of PTSD and military mental health and is widely published with over 100 articles to date.   References that we discuss on the podcast: Nature reviews and Brain food https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/ Food and PTSD http://www.ptsdassociation.com/nutritional Omega 3 and Psychological health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3590222/ Prevalence of PTSD amongst healthcare workers https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/bjog-study-highlights-prevalence-of-ptsd-among-obstetricians-and-gynaecologists/

with Dr Dominic Murphy

get started

The Doctor’s Kitchen App

Download our app to get access to all of our recipes, with specific suggestions tailored to your health needs.


Free 7 day meal plan

Sign up to our newsletter and receive a free copy of our breakfast, lunch and dinner plan to kick start your healthy eating.