by Chris Lang
The wounds of Veterans, both physical and mental, are real and have widespread effects on Veterans and their families. I applaud the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as private entities to help these men and women, and their families, on the long road to recovery. Not a day passes that I’m ungrateful for my health after four years in the Navy.
With that being said, I believe Veterans are a proud breed of Americans. We don’t like hearing “it can’t be done” or “that’s just not possible”. With limited resources, personnel, or funding, we were trained to make things happen. And we did. This instilled a certain pride in us that we can and will achieve the so called “impossible.”
It bothers me when I see the staggering statistics about unemployment among my fellow Veterans. There are a plethora of factors that contribute to this, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the root cause. Some cite the inability for employers to recognize how work experience in the military transfers to the civilian world. Some say employers are worried about the mental health of Veterans. Roughly seven percent of Americans are Veterans, and less than one percent are currently serving. With this kind of data, it’s understandable why employers can’t relate.
The concern employers express over the mental health of a veteran is nothing more than a social stigma. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a very serious issue, and Veterans who are suffering should not feel shame in seeking counseling. While PTSD is nothing new to Veterans, the publicity it’s received in the last decade has propelled the word to be synonymous with Veteran. This is an unfortunate and untrue association of words. The number of Veterans that I know who are healthy, motivated and intelligent individuals far supersedes the amount of Vets I know with PTSD.