Research consistently shows that clergy and congregation leaders - not psychologists or other mental health experts - are where people first seek help in times of psychological distress; eventually they then seek therapy from professional clinicians. The most recent study we know of where this was cited was done by Baylor University, October 2008.
You can choose to implement Programs that will qualify you as a Veteran Friendly Congregation. The purpose of these programs are to keep your congregation members AWARE of the military and their needs, and you use these programs to create an atmosphere of ACCEPTANCE throughout your congregation. Someone connected with the military needing help might visit your congregation? Who is there already? Are they going to feel welcome and accepted and see you congregation as a sanctuary?
In addition to choosing to begin a “Military Ministry” within your congregation, you may also choose to become a Lead Congregation, and in doing so, begin to encourage other congregations in your geographic area of all faiths to implement these programs. We need Lead Congregations to make this program successful as they become the hubs of the information network that will spread the availilbity of support to those that need the help.
You can use this site to find information that may be helpful to you or to one of your congregation members, especially if you are already concerned about them. There is information about various mental health treatments available (see the “Stuff You Should Know” menu item onthe left. With our therapist database, you can find someone to refer a person to. It will be someone who has taken the time to receive training on the military culture or they themselves have service background in the military. Please note that you usual referral sources may not be the best choice for someone dealing with issues associated with the military.