Employer Misconceptions Of PTSD Are Hurting Veterans

career
AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson

A good friend of mine once described the relationship we have as a society with our veterans as a social contract --- a collective responsibility to care for those who have borne the heaviest burdens in the defense of our nation. In recent wars, however, the percentage of veterans bearing such a burden is shrinking dramatically in proportion to the rest of the population.


The decrease in this percentage has created a void that is often referred to as the civilian-military divide. This phrase has been referenced increasingly lately within the veteran community in regards to failures in fulfilling the aforementioned social contract.

A recent poll conducted by Monmouth University has helped to shed some light on the perceptions and attitudes behind the civilian-military divide. The poll was a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents of New Jersey, to be clear, it does not represent a nationwide perspective.

However, the poll found that veterans may face their most difficult uphill transition battles during the interview and hiring processes. Monmouth University reported finding that “42% of residents believe that concerns about PTSD are a major factor when employers consider whether to hire a recent veteran.” Additionally, “40% say that private employers should be able to weigh the possibility of a delayed onset of PTSD symptoms before deciding whether to hire a vet.”

Related: 8 common myths about PTSD debunked.

If these numbers hold true, they may be hurting the job prospects of veterans who have recently returned from combat and who are already struggling with the transition process and the cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness. We know that according to labor statistics, veterans historically suffer from higher levels of unemployment and if employers are electing to pass on qualified and talented veterans because they fear a “possible” post-traumatic stress outbreak, then they are simply caving to the inaccurate stereotype of the angry and violent veteran often portrayed in media and film.

These percentages are ultimately manifestations of that ever-increasing void between the civilian population and those who have served. It is incumbent on both parties to understand the realities concerning soldiers returning home with post-traumatic stress. Most importantly, it is vital for employers to recognize that not every soldier who has served in combat will be diagnosed with post stress traumatic. Those who do receive the diagnosis will often have to overcome many hurdles to receive the proper care, whether it is in the private sector or through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Finally, we know from the VA’s own numbers that statistically veterans who suffer from severe post traumatic stress are more inclined to hurt themselves than those around them.

Educating ourselves about mental illness in the veterans community is extremely important. Four years ago, with that goal in mind, Congress set aside Friday, June 27 as National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day. The better we understand what veterans are going through, the better we can take care of them and enforce the social contract. It is my hope that our younger generations will see the pride and respect in which we care for those who have served, and they will be inspired to take up the uniform and serve themselves. This is the cycle that we must fight to protect, not just to fill the ranks of our military, but to protect our very moral fabric. 

U.S. soldiers surveil the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. Picture taken November 1, 2018. (U.S. Army/Zoe Garbarino/Handout via Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.

Read More Show Less
Construction crews staged material needed for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project near the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Mani Albrecht)

With a legal fight challenge mounting from state governments over the Trump administration's use of a national emergency to construct at the U.S.-Mexico border, the president has kicked his push for the barrier into high gear.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted a time-lapse video of wall construction in New Mexico; the next day, he proclaimed that "THE WALL IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW"

But there's a big problem: The footage, which was filmed more than five months ago on Sep. 18, 2018, isn't really new wall construction at all, and certainly not part of the ongoing construction of "the wall" that Trump has been haggling with Congress over.

Read More Show Less
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

A group comprised of former U.S. military veterans and security contractors who were detained in Haiti on weapons charges has been brought back to the United States and arrested upon landing, The Miami-Herald reported.

The men — five Americans, two Serbs, and one Haitian — were stopped at a Port-au-Prince police checkpoint on Sunday while riding in two vehicles without license plates, according to police. When questioned, the heavily-armed men allegedly told police they were on a "government mission" before being taken into custody.

Read More Show Less
Army Sgt. Jeremy Seals died on Oct. 31, 2018, following a protracted battle with stomach cancer. His widow, Cheryl Seals is mounting a lawsuit alleging that military care providers missed her husband's cancer. Task & Purpose photo illustration by Aaron Provost

The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.

Read More Show Less
The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)

In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.

Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.

And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.

Read More Show Less