Last week veterans spoke at the George W. Bush Institute in an effort to raise awareness on veterans affairs, with special attention being placed on the transition of veterans back into the civilian world.
Former President George W. Bush spoke specifically about the challenges that veterans face, including social stigmas related to post-traumatic stress disorder, the divide that exists between the civilian and veteran world, and the challenges that exist for veterans currently seeking employment.
The former president’s speech marks a growing awareness in the civilian world of the difficulties that those who have been employed in the military face. However, awareness of specific issues is still relatively low.
Bush also announced that later this year, a full study on veterans who served in the military after the events of 9/11 will be released, and will further highlight many of the statistics surrounding veterans.
An early look at these statistics shows that while most veterans are pleased enough with their time in the military to recommend serving to others who are interested, a majority – more than 80% – also believe that the general public is unaware of the challenges that veterans and their families face.
All three factors mentioned by Bush could play a tremendous role in helping former veterans to obtain jobs or to further their careers through education. Some of the key factors that prevent companies from hiring veterans could be resolved by better educating civilians about veterans and veteran life.
Common issues that seem to arise – and often prevent companies from hiring veterans – are a lack of understanding about how military jobs and experience translate into the civilian world. Some employers worry that by hiring a veteran they could potentially lose an employee if the individual decides to go back into service – a misunderstanding that results from not realizing that most veterans who have left the military have cut ties for good.
But of course, one of the biggest issues involves PTSD. In addition to helping those who have PTSD, the George W. Bush Institute and other organizations across the country involved with veteran issues hope to raise awareness about the condition.
In his speech, Bush stressed the importance of helping veterans to seek treatment if necessary. But it also seems that more civilians – especially employers – must learn that PTSD does not necessarily affect an individual’s ability to perform in the workplace. Raising awareness of this and other issues that veterans face will be a big step forward in ensuring that those who have served are given the respect and care they need as they transition back into civilian life.