I can say from my own experience that there is a causal link between veterans' chronic unemployment and post-traumatic stress. The feelings of worthlessness for the thousands of veteran job candidates who send out hundreds of résumés to a numbing silence and no interviews creates an emotional hopelessness tied to economic helplessness.
Many of the 400-plus unemployed veterans I have interviewed personally have been unemployed for up to two years. They tell us that the interview with Veterans Across America is their last stop; they are considering suicide.
The symptoms of mental anguish persist even after the veteran secures a job. Everyone looks at job creation and few realize that there's a huge retention problem; a large percentage of veterans leave their jobs in the first year of employment.
Mental counseling has not been available to veterans in the pre- or post-employment cycle. The V.A. needs to establish a veterans' job lifeline to stem the tide of veterans leaving the work force.
WESLEY PORIOTIS, New York, April 26, 2012
The writer is a founder of Veterans Across America.
Editor's Note: The New York Times editorial appeared in the Current News Early Bird, April 25, 2012.