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Should veterans be up front with employers about PTSD?

(Business News) When a veteran with PTSD is on the job hunt, how should the waters be navigated? Directly or passively? Should coworkers be made aware? Let’s address some of these topics.


Veterans with PTSD: on the job hunt

Earlier this year, we learned ways that employers can accommodate veterans suffering from PTSD, including the fact that PTSD isn’t visible and companies can’t legally ask if a candidate suffers from PTSD. Also, we learned that employers looking for top notch candidates, accommodations can be made for PTSD sufferers like allowing employees that note they have PTSD to step out of situations that trigger a negative reaction, and that better mental health benefits can be added.

But on the flip side, should veterans be honest about their PTSD, or should they hide it? Should they share during an interview their struggle, or should they keep it to themselves? Should they tell coworkers? How should PTSD victims interact with the work force – head on or passively?

Four tips for vets with PTSD

Mike Ligouri, the Director of Community from Unite US offers four tips for veterans with PTSD who are on the job hunt, in his own words below:

  1. Know your triggers– There are certain instances or situations that trigger episodes within veterans with PTSD. It is important to understand what those triggers are when job searching so that you don’t search for jobs that will regularly put you in situations that can cause an episode.
  2. Networking– Networking is one of the best ways to find a job, and with a massive military veteran community, it is easy to find a mentor or someone who can help you with interviewing skills, finding open positions, introducing you to the right people in your field of interest, etc.
  3. Find military friendly companies– Most civilian employers don’t truly understand PTSD, making it difficult with those with PTSD to explain their capabilities as well as their limits. However, military friendly companies have a much better understanding of PTSD and are more willing to work with their employees who experience it.
  4. Ask questions in your interview– This goes back to knowing your triggers. By having a full understanding of your triggers, you can ask the appropriate questions while you are interviewing and figure out if the environment or type of work is conducive to you. Don’t forget, when you are on an interview, you are also interviewing the company, and you need to make sure it is the right place for you.

There are ways to navigate the waters when job hunting with PTSD, and employers have ways (as mentioned) of accommodating so they don’t miss out on high quality candidates. A better understanding of triggers by all parties can go a long way toward a positive work environment.

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Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.



  1. Wounded Times Blog

    December 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    The answer is clearly no. PTSD is not something anyone else is expected to disclose. Survivors of crimes, don’t have to. Survivors of natural disasters, don’t have to. Car crash survivors, fire, floods, you name it, don’t have say a word. Veterans shouldn’t have to either.

    • agbenn

      December 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      a thanks for plugging your blog, b read the article. and c, no one says it has to be disclosed, but there are some benefits that come with allowing your employer to help in every way possible. You’re welcome to quip back, but I won’t respond. As a sufferer of PTSD myself every ounce of help our Vets get will never be enough.

      • Wounded Times Blog

        December 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

        a, It was not a plug for my blog or I would have mentioned it. b, I did read the article but did not agree with it. c, Simply pointing out that anyone can have PTSD but since employers are still clueless, it can do more harm than good. Your response was very rude. I have been living and fighting the stigma of PTSD for over 30 years with my Vietnam Vet husband and advocating for all veterans.

  2. Timothy Dempsey

    January 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Agree, agbenn, “every ounce of help our Vets get will never be enough.” The sacrifices they have made are beyond what they imagined and the support they get when they come home falls so short of what they deserve its down right embarrassing…if not unpatriotic. As well, sdnative, with the concern about government sign-up programs for veterans which do more damage than good. It’s extremely frustrating to watch veterans make all the right moves and still not get the help they need and have been promised. And let’s not leave the nonprofits out of the equation. Because of the unprecedented successes of organizations like Wounded Warriors, there are all sorts of nefarious people trying to use veteran causes as an angle to promote themselves and make a buck. It’s absolutely disgusting. And (unrelated to my previous remark) thank you Wounded Times Blog for what you have done for your husband and other veterans suffering with PTSD. I do agree in general that the private sector is clueless about PTSD. Hiring managers in particular need to be educated about what PTSD is and most definitely what it is not. No mater how supportive an employer professes to be, unless hiring managers are brought along their professions are simply promotions and end up doing no good (and probably some damage) to veterans that need a break getting a job. I am also not a veteran and don’t understand all the nuances but I have been pretty active with the issue from within the nonprofit sector and do recognize how poorly society is set up to repay veterans for their service when they return home.

  3. Pingback: Where do veterans stand in today's labor market? #stats - The American Genius

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