Mental health problems are considered some of the most common and disabling medical conditions that affect military service members. Veterans with PTSD need mental health services but are often reluctant to seek them due to perceived stigma. In this study, we used Smith’s (2007) stigma communication framework to analyze veterans’ and civilians’ perceptions of combat-related PTSD. Findings from our study indicate that, although participants were exposed to stigma communication about veterans with PTSD, most stigmatizing labels were considered inaccurate. Further, participants perceived that discourse about veterans infrequently implied that veterans were personally responsible for developing and overcoming PTSD. These findings indicate that perhaps efforts to destigmatize mental health issues, and PTSD among veterans specifically, have been successful.



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