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San Diego Nonprofit Launches Online Course About Helping Veterans

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San Diego Nonprofit Launches Online Course About Helping Veterans
San Diego Nonprofit Launches Online Course About Helping Veterans
San Diego Nonprofit Launches Online Course About Helping Veterans GUESTS:Marjorie Morrison, founder and CEO, PsychArmor Institute Dr. Carie Rodgers, psychologist, VA San Diego Healthcare System

Our top story on the day addition there are many organizations trying to help America's veterans they provide health care, job counseling substance abuse assistance and other services. But as his goats try to serve the needs of veterans, who teaches them what the veterans need? That's the area filled by the San Diego based organization called psych armor, it's a group that trained doctors nurses psychologists lawyers and families have to deal with the issues that come up for veterans. Today the group is launching a campaign to educate everyone on the questions to ask the things we should know about the people who have served in the military. Joining me is Marjorie Morse and she is founder and CEO of psych armor Institute, she is the author of the book inside battle our military mental health crisis. Marjorie welcome to the program. Thank you. Also here is Dr. Kerry Rogers she is a psychologist with the VA San Diego healthcare system part of her job is to train civilian mental health practitioners to treat the Terry veterans. Kerry welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. Marjorie you call the mission of psych armor to train the trainer. How did you become aware that there was a neat for this kind of training? Well, I was a civilian mental health provider here in San Diego and not coming from a military family I did not know anything specific about the culture and I didn't know I needed to know anything. Until I went on bass and had the opportunity to work with hundreds of Marines I didn't know all of the specifics. When you think about back in the draft when everybody served, people just understood military culture as part of a narrative now they are down to only one percent serving hot we have about 10% that our military connected at least 90% of us that don't know and don't understand the culture. When our service members leave a transition into the civilian world, we are their employers and their healthcare providers their neighbors caught their friends, and nobody really knows has helped us know what to do to how to support them. Can you tell us how training employers and lawyers and a lot of exhilarating person now about the special needs of veterans, how the head that help veterans communicate and employers communicate and lawyers communicate to their veteran clients? It helps so much. We think it made the difference of a lot of life because first of all when it comes to healthcare providers they need to ask are you serving, have you searched before, so that they understand those issues. A lot of times people who are struggling I come into doctors office with pain, or with sleep issues, and if you don't know the right questions to ask you might not know that those are symptoms of underlying issues. When it comes employers having your company be veteran friendly knowing how to decode resumes, not what kind of jobs the people had in the military translate into your positions, it's a wonderful way to welcome them on board and we help companies build internal employee resource groups, so when these veterans, onboard they feel welcome they have mentors in place. When it comes to things about professionals and you looking at lawyers, or financial planners are very specific needs that need to be addressed when talking about veterans. One of it it's the cultural competency and the other is understanding the legal issues understanding when retirement looks like often those benefits, you're looking at real estate, all of that, if the VA home loans, it's a whole different world. That's really interesting how far that reaches. Kerry part of your job as I said at the VA is trained civilians psychologists and psychiatrists have to treat veterans. It might surprise some people that to know that most of the counseling that veterans receive is from civilians, is not right? A large portion of it certainly is. We serve about 60% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. So the veterans of those conflicts. About 40% of those veterans receive their healthcare whether it's mental health physical health outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs. So a number of healthcare providers in the community are involved in treating veterans. What are some of the problems those dental health workers come up against when treating vets?. Some I think it's not understanding the military culture and so there are stressors, that come with service like deployment. Or mobility. Military families move a lot more than civilian families do. So there are stressors that come with that environment that can impact mental health and physical health issues that civilian providers may not be aware that they need to ask about and may not know what to do if they do ask about it. But dramatic stress syndrome are higher rates in veterans than in the civilian population some some healthcare providers aren't as well trained on how to treat those issues as clinicians in the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs is a part of my job and the job of many in the VA is to help educate civilian providers so that they can do a really good job in treating veterans who they have in their clinics. So Marjorie, as I said, today psych armor is launching a new campaign called one five 515, tell us about that and what those numbers mean. See map I struggled at first because I kept being asked can you just give us a down and dirty one hour, what do we need to know because we host about 50 or so online courses that are all free which we can talk about later. I just thought you can teach all the stuff at in one hour and it's unfair for us to think that you do. What we did is we realize we have to do it so we talked to me to the social media campaign and asked thousands of veterans was the one thing you would want a civilian to know about you. We compiled all of the results and that's what came out over one 515 initiative. It's one mission to make all Americans military culturally competent. Five questions, that they need to ask any veteran that they need or get in front of and 15 things that veterans want you to know about them. Can you list the five questions for me pics you I was afraid you were going to say so one of them is that you serve in the military? And this is so important and carry, I know that healthcare providers are not asking that question. And they are missing such important information. Did you serve? If you serve what branch were you in? Did you deploy? It gives people opportunity that you know that not everybody deploys. And then what was your worst day and what was your best they? And we found the test that this out on hundreds off different people and we found that those are really good ways to open up some dialogue. So is that that's not for people just meeting veterans, that's for someone who is a healthcare provider or someone who is a colleague or someone who wants to get to know about the veterans experience a little bit more. Know I would say this is for someone just meeting them. This could be here at Starbucks NEC veteran and what do we do we say thank you for your service and you know most veterans have a hard time with that. They feel like it was my job. And it makes them uncomfortable this is taking it one step further and it's engaging, it's saying I care about you I want to learn about you. These are open ended questions. And obviously someone is not sharing then you can stop but we found that it's received well from the veterans and this would really open up this dialogue for all Americans to start engaging in conversations to learn about veterans. When you talk about the 15, those are the 15 statements that American veterans want everyone to know. Went to pick out a couple and tell us what the statements stand out to you. We are not all soldiers. That was one that kept coming up over and over again because we tend to say we call everybody soldiers, and we know especially here in San Diego we are a Navy and Marine town the Marines are Marines, Air Force are error man, we do not help at all PTSD and we have done such a great job removing the stigma of PTSD, but now we fear that it's hurting our veterans when they go get jobs. And employers are afraid I all had PTSD. Reading them no doubt that they didn't all kill someone, I mean that's a question that nobody should ask a veteran. Did you kill someone. And as I said there are 15 of these and you call them from the interviews with as you say thousands of veterans. Of what they want the American public to know about their service and about themselves. What you think of the psych armor one 515 campaign Kerry? At this fabulous. I think we often hear from clinicians after providers and civilians I don't know what to say. So I think it's a wonderful kind of shorthand quick and dirty 15 things that you can talk to somebody about. I love it. I also think there's a wonderful emphasis on the positive. Often when you're talking about veterans issues we are talking about PTSD, or traumatic brain injuries, but serving in the military also requires a great deal of strength and perseverance and dedication and more needs to be emphasized I think in those wonderful positive traits that people who have served have and the things that they can give to the rest of us because they have the expense of serving in the military. So I really like the positive focus. Marjorie, how can people learn more about this? We have an online course that's one hour that I so strongly recommend everybody go and take because it's one thing to tell you these things, but what we do in this one hour course it's got quotes from different veterans, and if you've been aware or taken anywhere courses they are all free, they're all done by subject matter experts in fact Dr. Rogers has done a few of them she is the connecting with the VA military women for us and maybe even some more and we take content and narration from subject matter experts but we animate them in-house to make them very pleasing, so they're not boring, use infographics, And when can someone finds this was her website? W www.psycharmor.org. We also have a call center to help you help veterans support Linux 844 psych armor they are all masters levels and Dr. mental health providers on the phone there are standing by on the phone to help anyone wants to find out more ways to support veterans. Marjorie Morrison Keri Rogers thank you both very much

One, Five, Fifteen Campaign
The PsychArmor Institute announced its "One, Five, Fifteen Campaign" on Veterans Day to educate civilians about how they can help veterans.
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A San Diego-based nonprofit wants to help American civilians develop cultural competency about the military through a free one-hour course taken online. The PsychArmor Institute announced its "One, Five, Fifteen Campaign" on Veterans Day.

"We hope this is a first step in a year campaign in educating all Americans about what they can do to help veterans," said Marjorie Morrison, founder and CEO of the PsychArmor Institute.

Morrison told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday she felt the need to begin the nonprofit because of the lack of understanding for military culture.

"I was a civilian mental health provider," Morrison said. "Not coming from the military, I didn't know anything about the culture. I didn't know all the specifics. When you think about back in the draft when everybody served, people just knew about the military culture."

But today only 1 percent of the American population serves in the military.

To help educate the public, the group interviewed thousands of veterans, asking them "What's the one thing you would want civilians to know about you?" Morrison said.

PsychArmor then put answers like, "We don't all have post traumatic stress disorder" and "We're not all soldiers" into 15 categories that are explained in the online course.

The five questions to ask veterans are:

  • Did you serve in the military?
  • What branch did you serve in?
  • Did you deploy?
  • What was your worst day?
  • What was your best day?

"(The questions) are really good ways to open dialogue," Morrison said. "It's engaging. It's saying, 'I care about you. I want to learn about you.'"