North Carolina AHEC Program
summer 2012 newsletter | home

Connecting the Faith Community and Behavioral Health Professionals

Eastern AHEC’s Debbie Caton Rogers has created a DVD training toolkit entitled "Working Miracles in People’s Lives: Connecting the Faith Community and Behavioral Health Professionals to Help Service Members and their Families," which will be distributed nationally throughout the AHEC system. It was funded by grants from the Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP) and The Duke Endowment to the New Bern District of the United Methodist Church.

Because so many veterans and military families return home to rural areas where there are few, if any, other supports and services for them, the faith community, mental health, social services, and health care professionals need to become partners to ease their transition back to civilian life. These veterans, military personnel, their children, spouses and other family members need help for full and healthy reintegration into their home communities.

As many children and adolescents of these veterans may experience difficulties as well, it is also crucial for school-based professionals to be aware of the issues facing these children and families, and where additional help may be accessed. The faith community is particularly vital in this process, as many families may only feel comfortable talking to their minister, priest, or rabbi.

This toolkit was based upon four pilot workshops held in eastern North Carolina, and contains over six hours of continuing education material. Approximately half of the original workshop material was incorporated, with another three hours of new material added. This included extensive videotaped interviews of veterans/service members, clergy/chaplains, and family members, as well as videotaped presentations. The toolkit contains all the information and materials needed to replicate this training in full or in part, depending upon preferences and time. It will be distributed by CSSP through the National AHEC Organization and to anyone else interested in replicating this training.

The NAO A-TrACC Project for the Behavioral/Mental Health of Veterans/Service Members and Families asked Caton Rogers to develop a one-hour webinar on training clergy and behavioral health professionals to help service members transition from combat to home as part of their total project. It was broadcast on May 1, 2012 to approximately 50-80 AHEC staff from across the United States and Guam, and was very well received.