ONE third of veterans feel perceptions around mental health issues relating to time served in the Armed Forces, such as PTSD, are detrimental to their career progression on civvy street.  

According to a new study from the Barclays Armed Forces Transition Employment and Resettlement (AFTER) programme carried out among veterans currently in civilian employment, the problem is particularly acute among younger Service leavers.

It is not just the veterans themselves who have these concerns, however. Despite efforts from employers to improve awareness and better support employees with mental health issues, one-in-10 ex-Forces personnel have had an interviewer refer to a concern about PTSD during a job interview.

46 per cent of veterans also believe that their colleagues’ preconceptions about what they may have experienced during their time in the Forces is an obstacle to their career progression.  

In fact, just one-in-25 Regulars and one-in-20 Reservists will report symptoms of PTSD following a period of action – very similar to the rate of mental health issues in the general population.

Correcting misperceptions

Stuart Tootal, head of the AFTER programme, said: “This research has identified a concerning preconception of mental health issues relating to veterans among employers.

“Mental health issues are not restricted to ex-Forces personnel but our research raises questions about how employers perceive mental health issues when compared with how they view candidates applying for a job that have no military background.

“We need to correct this misperception as it could have a negative impact on those transitioning into the civilian workplace.

“Ex-Forces personnel offer a wealth of transferable skills, including leadership, teamwork, strategic planning and problem solving – which employers may be missing out on due to a misplaced focus on mental health issues.”  

Peter Poole, chief of staff at veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress, added: “While the majority of Service personnel have a positive experience during and after their military career, a small minority may need additional support.

“As a society we need to focus on the benefits of employing veterans and work together to reduce misconceptions around veterans’ mental health to ensure they lead fulfilling lives.”

If you or your transitioning soldier has faced this issue during a job interview, contact our Employment Specialist, Laura Lewin, by emailing etam@aff.org.uk  

About The Author

Related Posts