Healing the Scars of War is focus of conference: Presenters have national reputations in treating war trauma
NEW PALTZ -- The Institute for Disaster Mental Health at the State University of New York at New Paltz will hold its annual conference on Friday, April 11, with the theme "Healing the Scars of War," which will provide mental health providers with the latest evidence-informed best practices for assisting returning service personnel experiencing stress reactions.
April 11 conference
"Most soldiers returning to civilian life will experience only brief periods of difficulty," said Dr. James Halpern, director of the institute. "Others, however, will demonstrate high rates of emotional distress, both immediately and even long after their wartime experiences. Although many returning veterans will be treated in VA hospitals, others seek treatment from mental health practitioners outside of the VA system, sometimes months or years after homecoming. It is clear that all mental health professionals need to provide up-to- date and long-term therapeutic interventions to work productively with these veterans."
The 5th annual conference is intended for mental health professionals, clergy and others who are or will be assisting returning veterans. Presenters have national reputations in treating war trauma. Morning keynote speakers will highlight several approaches to assessment and treatment of service personnel and their families. Afternoon workshops will provide mental health practitioners and spiritual care providers with in-depth information, guidance and training.
Introductory remarks will be made by Michael F. Hogan, Ph.D., commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health, and the morning keynote address will be given by Dr. David Riggs, executive director of the Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. His presentation is titled "Stress Through the Deployment Cycle: Impact on Military Personnel and Their Families."
The second keynote will be given by Dr. Patricia Resick, director of the Women's Health Sciences Division of the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Resick's presentation is titled "Recognizing PTSD in Returning Combat Veterans."
In addition, a presentation, titled "Military Culture 101," will be given by Fredrick Bush and Kai Chitaphong, the clinical points of contact for returning veterans of upstate New York VA Health Care Network.
At lunch, Colonel (Retired) James D. McDonough, Jr., the director of the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs and decorated Korean and Iraq war veteran, will give a presentation about navigating veterans' resources. McDonough has served in various posts as a battalion commander and executive officer, including in Germany, Korea and stateside. Before his recent appointment, Col. McDonough was director of Veterans Employment and Training Service in the US Department of Labor and Inspector General for the New York National Guard.
Afternoon workshops address family issues, spiritual care and evidence-informed treatments.
For more detailed information about the workshops, the speakers and to register, visit www.newpaltz.edu/idmh/conference.html.
The conference sponsors include: The National Institute of Mental Health; The NYS Office of Mental Health; SUNY New Paltz Campus Auxiliary Services; Ulster County Mental Health; and the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.