Research suggests that 14% to 16% of U.S. service members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq have some type of mental illness. While services and programs exist to help Veterans transition to civilian life as well as survive financially, nothing can compare to the acceptance they can receive from their place of work. Many places of employment are positioning themselves directly in front of Veterans, and choosing to hire them regardless of their mental health conditions, which is an essential component of the acceptance that these Veterans desire from their place of work. As an employer, it's important to understand the potential effects of mental health awareness when faced with the opportunity of hiring a Veteran.
After serving years in combat overseas, Veterans face many challenges while transitioning to civilian life, especially when it's time to get back into the work field. With their mental health at stake, Veterans risk and fear being treated differently, often experiencing feelings of shame and embarrassment. While mental illness affects over 44 million adults in America, Veterans with mental illnesses are continuously treated differently in the workplace. It also becomes extremely difficult for Veterans to receive proper treatment through employee health insurance, considering vital mental health benefits are generally not covered under small plans. Employees can help Veterans with their mental health treatment by acceptance and understanding, as well as by offering compatible health insurance through their company.
As Veterans transition to civilian life, they are faced with stress and challenges that consume their minds, including the loss of military self, with civilians not understanding the trauma and difficulties that they faced overseas. It's important that coworkers and employers both understand the significance of healing from combat trauma during and after the transition. Veterans often deal with combat trauma throughout the rest of their lives, while trying to maintain and live a normal civilian lifestyle. One issue that arises with Veteran mental healthcare while working, is the need for continuous VA appointments, which are necessary for the healing of the Veteran. Some places of work tend to disregard these appointments and punish the Veteran with unexcused absences from work. As a plan for acceptance and understanding of mental health treatment for Veterans, it's appreciated to consider these appointments, and allow Veterans to receive proper treatment without being reprimanded.
With an overwhelming number of Veterans experiencing PTSD and other combat-related traumas, it's essential as an employer to understand the difficulties that they are facing daily with their mental health. Veterans tend to lose vision of who they used to be before they were in combat, and often need to gain back their sense of self through self-development. However, mental health treatment is an essential part of the process as well, and employers need to recognize that. Research by VetAdvisor shows benefits are an important aspect of employment opportunities for 92% of veterans, since they require health benefits quite often. However, a whopping 43% of these Veterans leave their place of employment after only a year or less because of the lack of benefits and decreased chances of advancement. With this research, it's clear that Veterans would be more likely to stay committed to their place of employment if management was properly trained in military translation, and offered benefits that would help with transitioning to civilian work life.
These heroes have risked their lives for the freedom of America and deserve to be treated fairly, especially, while they continue to receive treatment for their trauma. By offering Veteran benefits and training for military translation and transition, employers have a better chance of helping Veterans continue to be employed through their company.
Visit our job board regularly to find companies that have positions available offering jobs for veterans, and follow our blog and social media profiles for tips on how to transition to civilian life.
By Lucy Wyndham