Associated Baptist Press
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is offering free, one-day workshops for clergy in rural areas on how to minister to needs of veterans in their communities.
Six training events are scheduled between April 10 and June 14 in Staunton, Va.; Beckley, W.Va.; Carrollton and Somerset, Ky., and Rogersville and Cookeville, Tenn., according to the VA’s office of rural health.
The VA says an estimated one fourth of people who seek help for mental-health problems go to members of the clergy.
“In addition to providing good spiritual care, we hope clergy will recognize the presence and severity of mental-health problems, and know when and how to collaborate with health-care professionals,” said Jeni Cook, associate director of VA’s National Chaplain Center in Hampton, Va., and a chaplain endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Workshop topics will include post-deployment readjustment challenges, the spiritual and psychological effects of war trauma on survivors and the important role of community in helping to reduce mental-health stigma and support veterans and their families.
Participants will also learn about VA benefits and services and about how to contact local VA facilities to request information or assistance for veterans.