Veterans, mental health professionals, first-responders and law enforcement officials gathered in Phoenix on Tuesday. They discussed stigmas surrounding PTSD and the obstacles veterans face when applying for a job.
The forum focused on improving the process for hiring those with PTSD. That issue comes into play especially when former service members apply for first-responder jobs.
Wanda Wright is the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services director. She said the transition can be difficult for some because they have a habit of not discussing mental health issues while they’re serving.
“So when you come out, you sort of have that habit: I’m not gonna talk about it, I’ll work through it, I’ll figure it out on my own,” Wright said. “What we really need to be talking about is: let’s address it, help you fix it, help support you through it. We don’t want people to sit with trauma.”
Sharon Taylor has several family members who are veterans. She said she wanted to know more about what’s available for non-combat veterans.
“My husband experienced his PTSD because he was in the Coast Guard and had gone out on more than 800 rescue missions,” Taylor said. “So I was really glad to hear today that there are services available for him and I just learned that for the first time today.”
Some resources include a virtual peer mentorship program and support for families of those veterans who struggle with their mental health.