Stakeholders Work to Improve Cultural Competence at Military Mental Health Summit

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Stakeholders Work to Improve Cultural Competence at Military Mental Health Summit

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 2:30pm

CONTENT: Article

At a Military Mental Health summit convened yesterday by PsychArmor, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense’s Center for Deployment Psychology and Booz Allen Hamilton, attendees worked to bridge the military-civilian divide by identifying ways to improve military cultural competency among mental health providers.

Veteran care experts and other stakeholders spent the half-day series of meetings working to identify innovative strategies to promote military cultural awareness among healthcare providers. In breakout sessions facilitated by Booz Allen Hamilton leaders, attendees were challenged to define and measure military cultural competency in mental health providers and brainstorm how to incentivize providers to become more culturally competent in military health.

Marjorie Morrison, founder and CEO of PsychArmor, said heightened awareness of military culture is critical to improving every aspect of veterans’ lives as they reintegrate into civilian culture after active duty.

“PsychArmor was born out of the realization that we have a significant civilian-military divide in our nation because such a tiny percentage of Americans serve in uniform,” she said. “That cultural divide results in veterans with undiagnosed and untreated PTSD and higher rates of veteran substance abuse, homelessness and suicide.”

After the summit, attendees gathered at a “Closing The Gap” Gala to honor three national leaders for their work in support of veterans. Honorees included:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Dole, founder the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for Military Caregivers, who was recognized for her efforts to raise awareness and resources for military and veteran caregivers
  • David McIntyre, CEO of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, who was honored for his work to improve veteran healthcare by leveraging community providers
  • Philanthropist Becky Moores, who was recognized for her generous philanthropic support for various efforts to close the military-civilian divide

PsychArmor offers free online courses to educators, health care providers, employers, family members and caregivers to help them better understand veterans’ experience and unique needs. The organization also operates a proactive call center staffed with mental health experts to provide local, state, and national resources to those wanting to support veterans.