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PTSD Awareness Month: Remembering the Disabilities We Can't Always See

Last month, in observance of Memorial Day, our nation recognized those who sacrificed everything in service to our country. This month offers another way to honor those who serve — by taking steps to understand some of the non-visible disabilities that veterans and returning service members may experience, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

June is PTSD Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness of PTSD and its effective treatments so that everyone can help those affected. PTSD is an anxiety condition that can develop in response to exposure to an extreme traumatic event such as military combat, violent personal assaults, terrorist attacks, disasters or accidents. And while PTSD is not unique to veterans and military service members, it is often characterized as one of the "invisible wounds of war" and a "signature injury" of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will see a growing number of returning service members coping with the challenges of PTSD as they reintegrate into civilian life, today and for many years to come. Because those challenges may impact them in the workplace, it is important for employers to understand the needs of workers with PTSD. Not all individuals with PTSD need workplace supports, but for those who do, such supports can be critical to employment success. Furthermore, employment itself can play a key role in the recovery and rehabilitation of someone experiencing PTSD.

A range of free resources can help businesses support the employment needs of those with PTSD. These include guides on effective workplace accommodations for workers with PTSD created by the Job Accommodation Network, and America's Heroes at Work, a U.S. Department of Labor program that addresses the employment needs of returning service members living with PTSD as well as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). All of these resources link businesses with the tools they need to help those living with PTSD succeed on the job, deliver for their employers and — most importantly — feel supported on the road to recovery.

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