Expert offers advice to employers concerned about hiring veterans with PTSD
More employers seem scared of the risks of PTSD among veterans in the civilian workplace, according to a think tank composed of business, military and health leaders. Despite these findings, one specialist who has evaluated more than 7,000 veterans with PTSD says veterans can make for some of the best employees in the workplace — and there are things a company can do to be better prepared. Dr. Harry Croft is a former Army doctor, psychiatrist specializing in PTSD treatments. His advice to companies who aren’t sure about hiring veterans:
- Understand the veteran, his or her skill sets and the differences in military and civilian culture. Hire veterans in pairs or groups because they’re used to working that way.
- Learn about PTSD so if you hire a veteran dealing with it, you know what the symptoms really are. This will help you understand that the vet is not trying to be disrespectful or obstinate and will help you understand the reasons they sometimes behave the way they do.
- Don’t give into the myths, mystique and stigma about veterans with PTSD. Never will someone with PTSD behave like Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghanistan civilians. He was suffering from much more than just PTSD alone.
- Offer veterans you hire someone to talk to in confidence or a situation or way that might enable them to deal with their symptoms more effectively.
- Ask yourself why you want to hire a veteran? It shouldn’t be because it’s a tax break, the patriotic thing to do, good for business or because you feel sorry for them. They don’t want to be treated like charity, but given opportunities because they are the right person for the job.
Croft says with one out of five veterans suffering with PTSD, and more troops on their way home, it would be beneficial for all companies to start taking measures to accommodate veterans in the civilian workforce.