Many medical professionals have made addressing the mental health of veterans a priority, and a growing number of them are former members of the military themselves. Thanks to a program called Train Vets to Treat Vets, many soldiers are helping fellow servicemembers overcome the emotional wounds of war, CNN reports.
The program was started by the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and has been growing in popularity as of late. Organizers hope to accomplish a number of different goals, but primarily are committed to mentoring new veterans, educating the public on the challenges they face and providing services to homeless vets.
"We, as the veteran students, wanted to see that we could create more of a military cohort at our school," Robert Chester, who served in the National Guard, told CNN. "We really wanted to put something together where we can help our fellow veterans by providing mental health services in that specific way."
Of course, the Massachusetts-based program is not the only one aimed at training medical personnel on how to treat veterans. The Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago also offers military-specific training thanks to a post-doctorate specialty known as military clinical psychology, and some of the students are former soldiers.
"[Service members] want to protect and help people get through difficult times," Brett Moore, a former Army psychologist, told the news source.
Providing training aimed at treating veterans is not specific to just former servicemembers. The healthcare industry as a whole has placed a greater emphasis on knowing the unique needs of soldiers, which will likely become of great importance as the withdrawal from Afghanistan continues.
Most recently, the White House's Joining Forces initiative announced a partnership with the National Association of Social Workers to provide training to 650,000 industry professionals. The hope is that the training will familiarize social workers with the differences in lifestyle, culture and health needs between civilians and military personnel, Marine Corps Times reports.
Much like the agreement between the NASW and the White House, there was also a similar plan involving training for nurses and nursing schools. Such plans are especially important given the prevalence of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury in veterans. Though there are no hard figures, experts estimate about 20 percent of vets of Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD.