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Starting Small Using the Memorandum of Understanding as a doorway Connection with Local Recovery Coordinator NAMI Connection with VA and Vet Centers Providing.

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Presentation on theme: "Starting Small Using the Memorandum of Understanding as a doorway Connection with Local Recovery Coordinator NAMI Connection with VA and Vet Centers Providing."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Starting Small Using the Memorandum of Understanding as a doorway Connection with Local Recovery Coordinator NAMI Connection with VA and Vet Centers Providing NAMI literature to Behavioral Health Clinics Tabling at Veterans’ fairs Invitations to speak with NAMI MOU

3 Starting Small Involvement with local Veterans’ support groups and Veterans’ Collaboratives Adjusting informational materials to be more military/Veteran friendly

4 Persistence is Key This Summer’s Family-to-Family course took three tries to get up and running due to issues with recruitment… Despite presentations by F2F Coordinator, LRC, written materials provided to clinicians/other VA & Vet Center staff NAMI Webinar fundamental to learning recruitment tools Decision to conduct the course even with a small number of participants

5 Getting the Course Started Use of Veteran-friendly materials and emphasis on PTSD class. Flyer developed: “Are you a family member of a Veteran with PTSD or other mental health issues? If so, this class is for you!” Instructor’s personal and professional interest in Veterans Speaking with prospective family members Working within VA guidelines for use of VA space

6 Our Class Combination of Veteran and non-Veteran connected families Veterans who have relatives struggling with a mental illness and/or who have challenges of their own Relatives who have a Veteran about whom they are concerned VA employees/volunteers Introductions included indications of military/Veteran connections

7 “Class 13”: PTSD Presented as Class 4 following other classes focusing on specific disorders Use of “A Supplemental Take-Home Module for the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program: Understanding and Coping with PTSD” as guide for the class Presents an abundance of information that, if included in its entirety, could not be covered in only one class

8 “Class 13”: PTSD Chose specific parts to focus on, based on voiced needs of the participants: symptoms, other related problems, effects on families, treatment and the family’s role in treatment Added additional information that may be helpful: References to additional psychophysiology information (e.g., Bessel van der Kolk’s and Babette Rothschild’s work) Reference to a constructivist view of the difficulties associated with PTSD to increase empathy and understanding How to communicate with VA/Vet Center providers

9 Finding the “Expert” Each VA Medical Center has clinicians who specialize in the treatment of PTSD In our case, LRC’s previous clinical focus was trauma and with some quick refreshing, was able to conduct the class (and wanted to) After –hours class time may present an issue; try to recruit a presenter well before the class, work with the LRC to find the person willing to present the class. VA employees can work with supervisors to allow for comp time or flex hours

10 Good Stuff! High level of bonding around the issue of PTSD as well as trauma in general Degree of respect, gratefulness, and pride regarding Veterans evident Several teenagers/young adults present who expressed relief in finding others struggling with similar issues Family members remain in touch after the class ending; reunion at next year’s walk being planned

11 Course Feedback “ This is a wonderful class. I have learned so much about how to be more understanding, compassionate, and an advocate for all people with a mental illness, but especially for my son.” “I have learned an incredible amount…how to speak with the affected person – I am changing my behavior and speech.” “It was good to get to know other people with a family member who has a mental illness.” “I felt close and trusting with our instructors and those members who attended regularly.” “Hopefully, some long-lasting friendships have been established.”

12 Speaker Contact Information Dr. Laurie Sheerer Kay Derrico NAMI Contra Costa Susan Norwick Horrocks NAMI Contra Costa


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