Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The 4 Letters Employers Must Forget When Hiring Veterans: PTSD
Editor’s Note: A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.
As I approach organizations for staffing needs, I hear chronic concerns from hiring managers over candidates with the mysterious “PTSD,” to which I quickly try to put their minds at ease. If you are nervous about hiring someone with PTSD, then you should be nervous about candidates with depression, anxiety issues, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, and more; and at that point, you have just eliminated one in five Americans as candidates.
Employers must remember to not give into the myths surrounding veterans with PTSD. The common stereotypes associated with PTSD make service members fearful of being associated with weakness or lack of employment. By halting your veteran hiring initiatives out of fear of this disorder, you are directly amplifying the reintegration issues we continue to face in this nation. Show your support as a company versus being a roadblock.
As a company, before you consider not hiring veterans because of concerns about PTSD, ask yourself why you want to hire veterans? It should not be for the tax break, to increase your business, or simply because you feel sorry for them. I can assure you that vets do not want to be treated like charity; they want to be given opportunities because they are the right people for the job. It is not your concern to ask them about the combat experiences simply because they served. Being cautious of “strange” personality traits in the hiring process is legitimate, but making presumptions about an individual because of his or her military background, is another.
Remember that PTSD can affect anyone who experiences a life-changing event, and also those who witness it, and deal with the ramifications later. As documented by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, PTSD can impact the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma, increasing the chances of hiring someone who had experience PTSD at some point in a lifetime even greater than you suspect.
PTSD can be caused by natural disasters, rapes, kidnappings, assault, sexual or physical abuse, childhood neglect, car or plane crashes, terrorist attacks, sudden deaths of a loved one, and of course, war. An employer’s ability to truly rule out PTSD in a veteran candidate, without the individual being scrutinized with a psychological evaluation, is unlikely. While the Department of Veterans Affairs notes that the rate of PTSD in those returning from combat is greater than the general population, it is by no means the only population afflicted by the disorder. As a hiring manager seeking to bring on veterans with your company, here are some steps you can take to overcome the stigmas associated with PTSD:
- If you are using a direct service for hiring veterans, address your concerns with them. If you are using someone like me to staff your company, you can feel free to bring up those concerns to avoid making judgment calls on your own.
- Steer clear of generalizations about what a veteran may have experienced. Making assumptions about your candidates will not show your support, but rather alienate them.
- Have your company sponsor or donate to organizations that specifically help with PTSD treatment and reintegration.
- Educate yourself on what PTSD really is and take the time to educate your staff on how to support those who are already hired.
- If your organization is large enough to support “wellness” overall, then it should support physical well being through exercise, diet, and overall stress management programs. Adapting this to encompass more facets of stress management should not be a stretch.
Yes, PTSD is very real, but as a company leader or hiring manager, you personally do not need to be concerned about a PTSD diagnosis during the hiring process. Would you be fearful of hiring me into your organization just by looking at my profile? You might assume I have fewer “issues” than the young Army infantryman who deployed. Don’t stereotype and don’t overthink what you don’t know --- you only make success for your company more difficult.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.