More widespread knowledge about mental health issues is a good thing, but all that information may be unknowingly stigmatizing soldiers and others.
There’s a lot of talk these days about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans, and while the growing awareness is a good thing, some vets are finding themselves unfairly stigmatized. Queries about the mental health issue are cropping up in strange places – like job interviews.
While potential employers aren’t legally permitted to inquire about an applicant’s mental health, ex-servicemen and women say the subject seems to come up during the interview process. It turns out that a high percentage of employers are wary of hiring veterans because they’re afraid that their courageous service to their country may also have created mental health issues.
Research shows that nearly half of employers -- 46 percent -- said PTSD or other mental health issues were challenges in hiring employees with military experience, according to a 2010 Society of Human Resource Management survey. And a 2011 survey of 831 hiring managers by the Apollo Research Institute found that 39 percent were "less favorable" toward hiring military personnel when considering war-related psychological disorders.
While PTSD is definitely a growing problem among veterans, it is certainly not a problem for all returning soldiers – or even the majority. Research shows that approximately 20 percent of Iraq or Afghanistan veterans will develop (PTSD), an anxiety disorder brought on by living through extremely stressful or life-threatening events. The more tours of duty, the greater the risk of PTSD. The problem can be devastating if untreated and lead to depression, panic attacks and drug abuse. It can increase the risk of suicide. In fact, veterans commit one in five of all suicides in the US, a sobering statistic.
The good news is that PTSD is treatable and rarely leads to violent acts. It’s also not limited to military personnel. Six to eight percent of all Americans will develop PTSD in their lifetime. It can be brought on by the trauma of a national disaster or an accident.
To help combat the misconceptions about PTSD -- particularly among soldiers -- the Department of Veterans Affairs is working to educate the public about PTSD and to encourage affected vets to seek treatment.
Co-occurring Disorders Treatment at The Canyon
If you or someone you love needs help with co-occurring disorders such as PTSD and substance abuse, call The Canyon at the toll-free number on our homepage. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.