Veterans Day is an opportunity to focus on the importance of proactively addressing the health and wellness needs of our nation’s heroes. However, federal agencies should uphold this commitment every day.
Military suicide rates have reached an all-time high, making it essential for federal agencies to offer comprehensive wellness programs and show support for veterans joining their teams after active duty. These programs could include access to counseling services, licensed mental health professionals, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and fitness plans.
Beyond in-house services, federal agencies should actively promote community-based resources available to veterans, including support services offered through organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
Offer continual training and education
Federal agencies should also implement ongoing training programs for supervisors and co-workers to stay updated on issues relevant to veterans, such as continual education on mental health awareness and best practices for supporting veteran employees. This can include a better understanding of the unique experiences veterans bring to the workplace, as well as strategies for effective communication and collaboration.
To remain responsive to evolving needs of their veteran workforce, federal agencies can develop ongoing training programs and provide periodic updates to ensure that employees feel supported and well informed. Creating a platform where veterans can share their experiences and collaborate on initiatives that promote their well-being is another way that agencies can build an inclusive workplace.
Cultivate a culture of caring
Too many veterans are silently fighting a battle long after they transition from active duty. Agency leaders who welcome and support veterans joining their teams, offer a sympathetic ear, and establish personal connections can make all the difference during an overwhelming time. Leaders should be trained to look for indicators that an employee may need additional support and schedule weekly one-on-one check-ins to help build rapport and trust. Indicators may include isolation, tiredness, lack of concentration or weight loss.
Learn more about what federal employers can do to cultivate a culture of caring and help those who served seamlessly transition into post-active duty employment. We owe it to our veterans to take a people first approach in the workplace to show we genuinely care and are thankful for their selfless sacrifices.
Support is available for veterans who are having thoughts of suicide and for those who are concerned about someone who may be at risk. Call the Veterans Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, text 838255, or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net.
Keep an eye on our Sedgwick Government Solutions blog series for additional topics impacting the public sector.