The 4 letters that could destroy your career: PTSD.
One of the biggest misconceptions in the military right now is that seeking help for PTSD will ruin your career.
Only, it won’t.
I can understand why this misconception is believed. Our service members are trained to be tough and strong to go to war and while not expressly stated, it’s insinuated that seeking help for any kind of distress (mental or physical) is seen as “weak” and “broken.”
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Seeking help takes an incredible amount of strength and courage.
Here is the saddest part. Studies have shown that our service members WANT help. Researchers asked 2,500 soldiers in Georgia to fill out the standard Post-Deployment Health Assessment twice– once on record and a second time anonymously. Over 68% took part in both surveys and the results nearly doubled for any questions about PTSD and treatment. How insane is that?
Soldiers are tailoring their answers to the questions about their health based on what they think their supervisors want to see.
But at what cost? A rise in suicide attempts, domestic violence and divorce.
No matter what your relationship is to the military– a spouse, active-duty service member, veteran, parent, family member or friend– each one of us has been touched in some way by the effects of PTSD and non-treatment.
And when something horrible happens, we wonder what we could have done, how we could have prevented it and how sad it is that they couldn’t get help.
It’s a vicious cycle that needs to end. There should be no reason why our service members continue to suffer in silence.
Because when you think about it, they aren’t suffering alone. Their families are suffering too. One study showed a tie between PTSD and a higher rate of domestic violence.
While that isn’t a very big surprise, imagine the family whose service member returns home and begins verbal or physical abuse that wasn’t there before. While the spouse may suspect PTSD, any urging to get treatment is met with more violence because who are they to question the person who just lived through hell?
It’s a no-win for everyone.
What’s the solution?
Stop glorifying war and start treating war as the traumatic situation that it is. Because until we begin to expect PTSD to be the norm, instead of the exception, we will continue to miss a diagnosis.
That is unacceptable.