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Friday, August 29, 2008

UA to Study Veterans Reintegration, Obama Aims to Nationalize Montana National Guard PTSD Screening Program, Vets and Intimacy

  • As the new GI Bill rolls out, the University of Arizona (with ~400 veterans already on its campus) is gearing up to welcome even more onto its rolls. Their Teaching Center is "developing a transition curriculum for veterans and is training faculty on how to teach them ... [and] has begun to offer veterans classes on resilience and stress management...designed to improve memory, strengthen problem-solving skills and build a social support network." Vets attending the University of Arizona will also be able to take part in their Disability Resource Center's federal Participatory Action Research Project , which will "study veterans reintegration and transition from the military into college." UA is hosting a celebration for veterans and their sponsors on Thursday, Oct. 9, from 4-6 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center.

  • This past Wednesday, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama met with Matt Kuntz, the stepbrother of Montana National Guard and Iraq vet Chris Dana. Dana "took his life in March 2007, less than two years after returning from a tour in Iraq. His family believes he was a victim of post traumatic stress disorder, brought on by his combat experience." Since then, his stepbrother has been among those pushing Montana to implement "more than a dozen changes in its policies in an effort to address PTSD and traumatic brain injuries in returning soldiers. A key initiative in the new plan is to screen all returning soldiers every six months for two years after their tour of duty." Obama has promised that he would "expand Montana's pilot program to assess the mental health of combat vets nationwide."

  • Last week, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune's Gail Rosenblum delivered an important piece on "the private scars of war," intimately introducing us to one family dealing with the most personal after-effects of war. With ~56 percent of today's troops being married, "the U.S. Defense and Veteran's Affairs departments are acknowledging that the physical and emotional scars that troops carry home present a sensitive challenge: sexual intimacy and body-image issues that most couples' therapists are ill-prepared to treat. ...The number of people returning with disabilities, is an 'enormous problem ... an astonishing problem.' ...Combined with the fact that returning vets are usually older and partnered, this is having a devastating effect on relationships."

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