George W. Bush Seeking to Reduce Stigma Associated with 'PTSD'

George W. Bush Seeking to Reduce Stigma Associated with 'PTSD'

Saying it was his duty to bridge the divide between returning veterans and civilians, former President George W. Bush said he would seek to lessen the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder associated with America’s veterans.

“We’re getting rid of the D,” he said. “PTS is an injury; it’s not a disorder. The problem is when you call it a disorder, [veterans] don’t think they can be treated. Bush said employers have said they do not want to hire veterans with a “disorder.” 

Bush appeared on a segment for This Week on ABC to talk about his efforts to reintegrate veterans into society and reduce the unemployment rate among returning veterans, especially the 30% of returning soldiers who have PTSD. 

“These are men and women who volunteered in the face of danger. I mean, they knew right after 9/11 that the nation would seek justice and to protect ourselves,” he said. “And some got hurt, and some of them need a lot of help. And our nation owes a huge debt of gratitude.”

Bush was interviewed with Jake Wood, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a Medal of Valor recipient. He returned home and “founded Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization of veterans and doctors committed to changing disaster response.” The group will now focus on veteran reintegration. 

“Whether they have a job or not, there’s an opportunity for organizations like Team Rubicon, like The Mission Continues, to provide veterans with perhaps that sense of purpose, that sense of mission they had while they had the uniform on,” Wood said. 

Bush also noted that veterans may not know how to best display their strengths on a resume and employers have a difficult time figuring out what veterans list as well. 

“It’s hard to put on your resume, ‘hire me; I was a sniper.’  I mean the average employer can’t figure out what that means,” Bush said. “On the other hand, it took enormous courage and discipline and steadiness under pressure to be successful… His job application, his job skill before, when employers better understand what he brings to the — would bring to their firm, they’re more likely to hire him.”