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Caring for America’s Veterans: Bridging Chaplaincy and Mental Health Care

Veteran’s Affairs is hosting a training this week in San Diego to help faith-based organizations connect and serve veterans and their families.

As a nurse and minister, I’ve seen the difficulty that comes with bridging faith-based social service and mental health.  At the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs we recognize this and are helping to equip the Department’s Chaplains with the skills and knowledge to work with our Veterans who live with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The next “Bridging Chaplaincy and Mental Health Care” training conference will be held January 20 and 21, 2011 in San Diego, CA.  The training sessions for VA Chaplains were developed and are being led by Dr. Keith G. Meador, Director, and Dr. Jason A. Nieuwsma, Associate Director, of Mental Health and Chaplaincy at the Durham VA Medical Center.

The VA Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership Director will be there supporting the training conference.  Drs. Meador, Nieuwsma, and I will begin working together to develop materials and a program specifically for faith-based leaders. The goal will be to develop material so that it is also useful for leaders in the non-profit sector.

We want religious and community leaders equipped to identify and appropriately refer our veterans to their VA Medical Center for the programs and services available to them.  To learn more about the resources VA offers, please visit the following links:

VA National Center for PTSD
VA Web Resource Links

If you have any questions or comments about this information, please email vafbnp (at)

Rev. E. Terri LaVelle is the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs