Earlier today, I was pleased to join the National Association of Social Workers at their national practice conference to announce a new Joining Forces commitment that will help train more than 650,000 social workers to have a better understanding of issues affecting our troops, veterans and military families.
We have asked a lot of our military since Sept. 11, 2001. They – and their families – have responded to the need for more frequent and longer deployments. As they have done in the past, our troops and their families have answered the call with no complaint.
But they shoulder a tremendous burden. As one Marine wife and mother recently told me, “people have no idea what 10 years of war will do to a family. All my kids have ever known is war.”
For the 1.3 million Americans who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan, some of the toughest challenges don’t come on the battlefield. They come months and years after they come home.
This Administration is working hard to make sure our veterans get the best care possible. Because only half of our veterans seek care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, social workers are uniquely positioned to reach service members, veterans and their families in every county in the nation.
Today’s announcement means that social workers – the nation’s largest group of mental health care providers – will have access to critical training and resources, including:
First Lady Michelle Obama and I started Joining Forces last year so that every American is inspired to take action to honor and support our troops and their families. The response – from individuals, from faith leaders, from businesses and more – has been extraordinary.
Today’s announcement is exactly the type of commitment we hoped to see – a major national organization stepping up to answer the call and do what it does best to have a positive impact on our troops and their families for years to come.