November 20, 2023, 19:14

Stigma on veterans in society is already there, and it is necessary to start dealing with it – Ruslana Velychko-Trifonyuk

The difference between the way the general public views the problems facing veterans and the problems veterans perceive in their lives themselves is essentially about stigma.

It was emphasized by Ruslana Velychko-Trifonyuk, First Deputy Executive Director of the Ukrainian Veterans Foundation of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, at a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

“We are constantly surveying how society treats military veterans and what problems the military cope with in general in order to identify when this stigma tends to be common. We can now say that it’s already there. And that, firstly, we need to do something about it somehow. And it’s a good thing that, for example, the Ukrainian public believes, according to our research with Sociological Group “Rating”, that a smaller percentage of veterans will struggle with alcohol use disorder, drug addiction, or family problems. This is how the general public says that they do not feel any danger coming from the military members, which is good,” she said.

However, according to her, society believes that the main problems of veterans will be psychological and emotional instability physical health problems, or accessibility issues in public places adapted for people with disabilities, although veterans see things differently and look at their problems a little differently.

“Therefore, in terms of percentages and figures, for example, if general public opinion claims a veteran has a psycho-emotional problem, and a very large percentage of society sees this as an obstacle, then returning veterans will face barriers to getting employment. Because society has a strong opinion on veterans experiencing mental health issues, although veterans think a little differently,” she noted.

Ruslana Velychko-Trifonyuk emphasized that this needs to be addressed “It is necessary to explain to the broad public that veterans are not a single image, veterans are not a homogeneous mass, veterans are the same integral part of our society, and that they are all absolutely different, and that they have individual problems as well.”

It is worth noting that in October 2023, the Ukrainian Veterans Foundation of the Ministry of Veterans conducted the fourth web-based survey among male and female veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Read more about the results of the survey here:

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