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Negative mental health perceptions hold veterans back

One in 10 (11%) ex-forces personnel have had an interviewer make reference to PTSD

Many armed forces veterans feel that perceptions around mental health issues are detrimental to their career progression, according to a new study from the Barclays Armed Forces Transition Employment and Resettlement (AFTER) programme.

The research found that one in 10 (11%) ex-forces personnel have had an interviewer make reference to a concern about PTSD during a job interview. Almost half (46%) of veterans believe that their colleagues’ preconceptions about what they may have experienced are an obstacle to career progression.

Stuart Tootal, chief security officer at Barclays and head of the AFTER programme, said that the research has identified a concerning preconception among employers about veterans' mental health.

“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 that have no military background,” he said. “We need to correct this misperception as it could have a negative impact on those transitioning into the civilian workplace.”

Peter Poole, chief of staff at veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress, added that while the majority of service personnel have a positive experience during and after their military careers, a small minority may need additional support.

“There is little difference between the rates of mental health issues within the military and civilian communities, therefore veterans should suffer no discrimination when seeking employment after leaving the Armed Forces,” he said.

“Veterans play a vital role in many businesses across the UK and we hope more organisations will recognise the value ex-service personnel bring to the workplace. As a society we need to focus on the benefits of employing veterans and work together to reduce misconceptions around their mental health to ensure they lead fulfilling lives.”