Efforts must be made to end the stigma attached to post-traumatic stress disorder, which can hinder military veterans' transition into civilian life and employment, former President George W. Bush said Wednesday.
Addressing a summit at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Bush said some veterans are reluctant to seek help and that employers often don't realize the condition can be treated.
"As a result of public misunderstanding, employers sometimes cite it as a reason for not hiring vets," Bush said.
"Most doctors today will tell you, post-traumatic stress is not a disorder. Post-traumatic stress or PTS is an injury that can result from the experience of war," he said. "And like other injuries, PTS is treatable."
Bush said his institute has been working with Syracuse University on a study of the issues affecting veterans who have served since 9/11. Bush said full results of the study will be released this spring and that the information will help employers understand what veterans have to offer, noting that both veterans and employers have a hard time translating military experience.
"You don't see many job postings that say: `Wanted: Experience hunting insurgents and terrorists. Willing to risk life for co-workers,"' Bush said.
"Or, what's a veteran supposed to put down?" he asked. "My last office was a Humvee?"
He said that the institute will also work with higher education officials on how to recruit and retain veterans.
"We recognize that in helping our veterans we can unleash the potential of a generation of resourceful, determined and experienced leaders," Bush said.
Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, also spoke at the summit that included panel discussion with former military leaders, business people and nonprofit leaders. Jill Biden and first lady Michelle Obama founded the Joining Forces campaign to rally the country around its servicemen and servicewomen.
"Our military families have done so much for our country and each of us can do something in return," she said.
The summit is part of the institute's Military Service Initiative, which has also hosted golf tournaments and mountain bike rides for those wounded while serving in the military. The institute is part of Bush's presidential center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.