The Young Suffered Mental Illness During WWII

A recent post by Joan Stewart, a book marketing expert who titles herself ‘Publicity Hound’ because she also loves dogs and includes a vid about them in her newsletters, prompted this post about the topic of mental illness.

Rata-McComb bombed vill bridge

Caption: Bombed-out homes confronted civilians everywhere in Europe during WWII. Photo by WWII vet Keith McComb.

A friend had recommended Joan see the movie “The Joker”. The movie tells the original story of Batman’s infamous foe. It brought in $93.5 million on its opening weekend.

However, after learning more about the movie, Joan reconsidered due to its depressing nature.

As a psychology major in college, I have been always intrigued by topics that concern the mind. Yet after seeing the preview, I’m siding with Joan. Even though people may rave about the movie, calling it thought-provoking and illuminating the extreme effects of mental illness, I know watching 2+ hours of emotionally dark scenes like those depicted is not something I can handle.

According to Stewart’s post, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with some form of mental illness. Hopefully something in this movie could spark discussion and action about procuring better mental health care in this country.

Joan’s post did cause me to think about the stories in my new book, It Was Our War Too: Youth in the Shadows of WWII. Two of the 18 stories deal with issues about mental health, specifically PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

We hear this term associated with soldiers. That is true for one case in the book, but the other diagnosis was for a civilian.

War is an issue both soldiers and civilians have to deal with, whether it be due to danger, noise, uncertainty, homelessness, physical privations such as starvation and more.

Here is a link to the post written by Stewart which includes the movie preview link:


Klaffke-Butler refugees

Caption: Thousands of people became refugees, forced to leave homes and lifestyles to seek a safe life elsewhere, often on foot. Photo by WWII vet Denny Butler.

I hope readers of the stories in my book will realize people with mental illness are not always responsible for their problems. They can be judged as weak and even selfish. I’ve known people with mental illness and would say they often are seeking help and don’t have all of the answers available to get it.

What are your views about this topic?


a IWO front

If you’re in the Fort Wayne Indiana area on Saturday, October 26, I’d be delighted to see you at my book launch for It was Our War Too: Youth in the Shadows of World War II.

 This book is a compilation of stories from interviews with 18 men and women who were youth during the war. The following countries are represented: Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, East Prussia, Hungary, Romania, USA, and Yugoslavia. Those from overseas arrived in the United States after the war. Many were sponsored by mostly religious groups, and later became naturalized citizens.

Examples of stories included are a Belgian Resistance fighter, female French Resistance fighter, children evacuated from British cities during the Nazi blitz of bombs, Rosie the Riveter, Australian war bride, the Army’s only official pin-up girl, member of Civil Air Patrol.

Some of these people and/or their family members will gather at the History Center, 302 E Berry, 2-4pm to share more about their stories. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. This is a free event suitable for children grade 6 and older. Thanks for your support.


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