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VA chaplains use 4 modules to teach trainees best methods to help Veterans, said VA Chaplain and Army Veteran Joe White.
The first module is Military Culture and Wounds of War. In this session, trainees learn about the military culture and injuries Veterans may have, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma. Trainees also learn how to assist military personnel and their families with a healthy adjustment to a civilian culture, along with ethical and moral injuries unique to combat Veterans.
Pastoral Care to Veterans and Their Families is the second module. This training discusses the spiritual side of caring for Veterans.
The third module is Mental Health and Referrals. Trainees learn the best ways to support Veterans’ mental health and how to make referrals so Veterans receive follow-up care.
Building Community Partnerships is the fourth module. Since a Veteran may need assistance in multiple areas, trainees learn how to work with partners to establish a network to help.
The program started in 2010. In 2017, the Veterans Experience Office held 13 events for 300 clergy during a pilot phase in the New England area, said Ben Kaler, a Marine Veteran and Veterans Experience Office field consultant. The program now covers all 50 states, with 17 trainers splitting up geographic areas. The vast majority of these trainers are Veterans themselves.
The program is open to community clergy and anyone interested in helping Veterans, such as local members of Veteran Service Organizations, Caregivers and community-based mental health providers. Religious leaders are often the first people Veterans turn to for help, especially in rural areas, said White.
Very good, its about time someone helps those who keep us safe and maybe the others from the older wars.