Recently members of VIP for Vets Community Advisory Board and local clergy attended a day long training session entitled, “The Rural Clergy Training Project.”
The event was sponsored in part by the Veterans Health Administration and Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Centers.
The purpose was to provide the clergy with information, contacts and service providers to assist veterans and their families in making a smooth transition after having served a tour of duty in the military.
“We learned military personnel can experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) episodes 30 years after having been in combat and sometimes such PTSD episodes can be triggered by events that may not have occurred in the theater of combat,” Rev. Alfred Carroll, president of the group, said.
Research suggests that many service members are likely to first seek counseling from their local minister therefore clergy must be ready assist them with not just spiritual advice but timely information on how to secure necessary services in the appropriate manner, Carroll said.
The group is currently working on several initiatives to enhance the quality of life of local veterans and get other clergy involved. Details: Contact Carroll at 692-9039 or Chaplain Caleb Lewis or Steve Sullivan at VA Medical Center Chaplain Services, at (501) 257-21561.