Community clergy training to support rural veterans’ mental health

MARIETTA — As they work to reintegrate into civilian life, many veterans and their family members seek help from their faith community. An upcoming event in Marietta can help prepare clergy and laypeople alike to support them and build pathways to care and resources.

The Ohio Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, the Ohio Governor’s Office of Veterans Affairs and National Chaplain Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invite clergy and church leaders to attend a free interactive training in Marietta, Ohio. This event will be held on Dec. 4 from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Buckeye Hills Regional Council, 1400 Pike Street, Marietta, Ohio 45750.

Rural and smaller-town veterans have limited choices for healthcare. Houses of worship are an important contact point for veterans in many communities. Sometimes clergy members aren’t aware of the Veterans in their congregation or how they might help a veteran and their family following deployment. Clergy may recognize veterans who are struggling in their return to civilian life, but not know how to support them.

Training topics will include:

*Identifying potential conflicts between civilian and military cultures.

*Identifying actions community clergy can take to assist military personnel and their families with a healthy adjustment to a civilian culture.

*Types of common military events that can cause adjustment problems for military personnel and the psychiatric and psychological responses that often follow from them.

*Identifying the relationship between spirituality and “meaning making.”

*The importance of Personal Narratives and Past, Present and Future Stories.

*Identifying pastoral responses and resources for clergy and their congregations.

This training is a collaboration of the Ohio Governor’s Office, the National VA Chaplain Center, and the Veterans Health Administration Office of Rural Health.

Information provided by Buckeye Hills.