Thomas Winkel, the Veteran Representative from the Arizona Coalition for Military Families. He is engaging the community in support of service members, veterans and their families. He began his presentation with a powerful video with statistics on homelessness and mental health issues affecting veterans.
The National Guard/Reserves has 14,600 members. Over 600,000 and 10% of the population of Arizona are veterans. It is estimated that 25% live in rural areas. Many service members are moving to Arizona. How can we help?
Marines hate to be called soldiers. Say service member, not soldier.
Air Force Airman
Coast Guard Coastie
A video of an actual combat was shown. It was different from a movie. It is hard to deal with the day to day combat. Buried bombs exploded in a convoy. A bomb exploded in a vehicle on the road. We saw what the service members experienced in their tour. Post traumatic stress is evident.
The key issues are military related trauma and stress, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, suicide, employment, education, family, relationships, and parenting. Even though they are survivors, they are suffering with a disability. The suicide rates for the military have been higher than those of the national population. Deployment, especially those that are deploying for multiple times.
Barriers to accessing help begin with stigma about needing help. The service member is concerned about the impact on career. There is a need for civilian partners and providers trained in military and veteran culture and key issues. The complexity of the Veterans Administration and the other systems of care can be daunting. The military tend to ask for help ONCE. Establish rapport.
This can be done by maintaining interactive neutrality. If you are anti war and communicate that to a service member, they hear that it is worthless in your mind. If you are supportive and the service member is having doubts. Remain neutral and let them bounce their feelings on you. Honoring ideals by saying, “Thank you for your sacrifice.” “My family has service members and I appreciate their service, like yours.” Understand the social structure that is a male dominated culture. Be attuned to communication differences, like salty language. Be aware of accepted norms of behavior–clean crisp service member versus the rugged, fighting, cussing service member. They feel bad and ashamed because they are not living up to the ideal. Keep up to date on new trends in military culture, but keep neutral. Don’t ask; don’t tell is controversial.
Disrupting Rapport is by making assumptions, such as presupposssing PTSD. May or may not have the condition. The service member may be focused on deployment or non deployment. The general population may have insensitivity regarding experiences with questions like, “How many people did you kill?” No. no. no. The assumption is that if they ar non infantry, they did not see action. Discussions of politics and war can be toxic in your rapport.
The Arizona Coalition for Military Families is a statewide coordination and collaboration. They are a regional community capacity building. The community education and training is exemplary and recognized nationwide. We can be a community force for support, patriotism, for caring, and begins in your home time. Get organized and crete partnerships. Make connections and make it local. Be a force in your community by joining community force: the Arizona Coalition for Military Families.
The guidelines for CARE.
C Connect to the culture. What we need to know?
A Ask the right questions at the right time. Have you ever served in uniform?
R Respond Effectively. What to do?
E Engage in the military and veteran Resource Network. Who else can you connect with? Get the help you need?
Have the ability to cope with stress and adversity and be willing to get help. The Arizona National Guard has a Resilient Program.
Upcoming Training Opportunities
March 2 Regional Symposium in Tucson
March 12-13, Military Immersion Training in Phoenix
June 13 -14, 2012 Statewide Sylmposium in support of Service members, Veterans, and their Families. Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix.
Engage the entire community.
“You took the time to come into my world and better understand me and my perspective. Now I feel comfortable coming into your world when I need help.” –Member of the Cadre