Returning troops face tough jobs market, mental health

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- 10,000 combat troops are coming home soon, and thousands more will follow next year. Eager families won't be the only ones greeting brave soldiers. A sluggish economy and few jobs await them.

"Those people are going to harder to place, and they're going to be looking at an $8 an hour job," said Skyco Staffing specialist Dena Flatt. That's because soldiers are specially trained in battle, yet lack training in manufacturing and construction. Typical jobs they would be competing for here at home.

"We've got a lot of labor jobs, but they're not used to $7.25/$7.50 an hour," said Flatt. She tells me most returning soldiers will have to work their way from the bottom up. "Unless they are skilled, as in they have a CDL license, or they've had training where we need welders, etc."

Finding work won't be the only problem for veterans. Jeff Scarbrough, a mental clinician says they also face mental health challenges. "With PTSD, that's a big issue for a lot of the soldiers coming home," he said.

Signs of PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, include anti-social behavior, angry outbursts, and flashbacks. Signs which culminate differently in each sufferer. "They may have a panic attack. Some people when they get triggered may have that explosive irritability or rage," said Scarbrough.

Despite the challenges awaiting soldiers, experts urge them to seek help to ease the transition from the battlefield.

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