With veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in unprecedented numbers, many are turning to community-based organizations for employment, housing, health care, and mental health services. Of these returning veterans, over one-third are at-risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions.
Engaging Veterans and Families to Enhance Service Delivery: A Tool Kit for Community-Based Organizations, released by The National Center on Family Homelessness, discusses the impact of PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI). It also provides useful tools for veteran outreach, including understanding the unique experiences of female veterans, and maximizing veteran participation in programs and services through social media. Specific tips for community organizations include:
- How to locate “invisible” veterans (such as women who do not self-identify as veterans), and what to ask to discover an individual’s military service history.
- How to understand and use “trauma-informed” care (a non-medical method of providing emotional support) and how it can improve the effectiveness of veterans’ services in employment, housing, substance use treatment, and mental or physical health care.
- How community organizations serving veterans can mitigate staff burnout and lower staff turnover rates.
- How to identify cutting-edge models of service delivery that address the significant barriers to providing treatment to veterans, while engaging their families and friends.
- How to improve an organization’s military cultural competence.
- How texting campaigns can reach veterans precariously housed or homeless, and how to change the intake process to support texting.
- How to use social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others to connect with veterans.
- How to use content ads to attract veterans to an organization’s website.
This Tool Kit is a useful resource for all who serve veterans and their families. It is available for free download by The National Center on Family Homelessness at http://www.familyhomelessness.org/resources.php?p=sm#veterans. In addition, there are several other Military Cultural Trainings available online. A brief list of these trainings is below.
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