The weekend homicides of ex-Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and a friend in Texas have stoked fresh concerns among mental-health experts and veteran advocates that the crime’s PTSD theme will further stigmatize and dampen an already-soggy job market for men and women home from war.
“What worries me about this story is it will frighten potential employers away from hiring veterans who have been in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Dr. Harry Croft, a San Antonio-based psychiatrist who has talked with more than 7,000 veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
“The myth is all of them have PTSD — not true, only 20 percent. Another myth is that all of them who have a severe case of it — not true; it goes from very mild to severe. The third myth is that everybody with PTSD is aggressive, unreliable, or trouble in the workplace, and none of that is (true) either. It scares me,” Croft said.
The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was 11.7 percent in January compared to 9.1 percent in January 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Younger female veterans grappled with a 17.1 percent unemployment rate last month — virtually unchanged from one year ago — while the unemployment rate for younger male veterans was 10.5 percent in January, which marked an increase from 7.7 percent during the same month in 2012.
“One of the things I talk about in the presentations I give to employers is how the stigma of the crazed vet like Sgt. (Robert) Bales, or, now, this young man in Texas, is very rare and it’s atypical. Now, that doesn’t mean that a vet with PTSD doesn’t have anger and agitation issues. But generally, it’s worse at home than it is at work,” said Croft, who co-authored “I Always Sit with My Back to the Wall: Managing Traumatic Stress and Combat PTSD.” Continue reading via NBC News...