By Andrea Cooper, Operations Manager at Mind Share Partners
“Thank you for your service.” It’s a polite thing we say when we notice whoever we are talking to was or is in the military. The veteran or active duty service member normally replies with a “You’re welcome,” and the conversation ends. We especially say it on Veteran’s Day—the only Federal holiday that celebrates a singular subset of American employees.
As a longtime military spouse, I often see this scenario play out in real life, or I read a feel-good story about a businessperson giving up their first-class seat on an airplane to a tired uniformed service member—both of which are incredible gestures that are greatly appreciated. But beyond the niceties, I look through the lens of a professional businesswoman. I wonder what more can be done in the business world to ensure these individuals are supported when their time-of-service ends and their civilian workplace career begins.
In this article, I hope to walk you through some of the unique experiences a Veteran may encounter as a civilian employee and provide you with resources employers have available to them to properly support this demographic.
◼︎ The military is the only employer with a guaranteed 100% attrition rate, ultimately leading to 3.1 million service members entering the civilian workforce at some point in their professional careers.
◼︎ While this group only makes up a mere 5.6% of the current civilian workforce, there are more veterans employed in the management, business, and financial operations, transportation and material moving, installation, maintenance and repair, and production occupations than their non-veteran counterparts.
Understanding the Unique Workplace Mental Health Experiences of Veteran Workers
Veterans inherently have unique, life-altering experiences during their time in the military—some are good, and some can have mental health impacts that take a lifetime to manage. In fact recent research shows that 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who served in the military after 9/11 have died by suicide. Additionally, many veterans experience mental health challenges, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder