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News & Press: Advocacy

Social Workers' Group "Joins Forces" for Veterans

Thursday, July 26, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mary Anne Meyers
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LANSING, Mich. - Social workers from Michigan and around the nation meeting in Washington, D.C., this week have been talking about how they can better serve returning veterans. The National Association of Social Workers announced, at the convention, a new online course of study in veterans issues. It will be offered at no cost, and will carry certification for any social worker who completes it.

NASW President Betsy Clark says social workers understand that the needs of military families are very specific.

"Traumatic stress from a car accident - that's very different than the traumatic stress from being in a war zone and being shot at or being injured there. We know that the suicide rate for veterans today is extraordinarily high."

Clark says many social workers are concerned about children of today's veterans.

"Children of military families have always dealt with deployment, but some of these deployments we know have gone on, time after time after time. Children acting out in different ways; we know that the divorce rate is higher. We know that support is needed."

Brad Cooper, who is a veteran, now serves as executive director of Joining Forces, an organization that was started a year ago to support and honor veterans. He says the new course will help tremendously.

"The commitment puts standards in place to grow a new generation of social workers. They will be armed with a better understanding of key issues and will serve our veterans and their families for literally decades."

In some small towns, Clark says, there is only one social worker, who may lack the specific training needed to address veterans issues. This course of study will cover a wide variety of issues, including military culture, traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder and issues that military families face after repeated deployments.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - MI
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