• 39°

Salisbury VA holds summit to improve service

For the second straight year, Salisbury’s W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center held a mental health summit Thursday with the goal of creating an expansive network to help veterans cope after leaving war-time environments.
Salisbury’s Veterans Affairs hospital invited 27 organizations and 15 VA programs to the summit, which addressed topics such as post traumatic stress disorder and employment. The mental health summits are held nationally at all VA hospitals, said psychologist Dr. Lyssa Israel, who helped organize Salisbury’s summit.
Organizations invited ranged widely, from counseling to coffee shops that hold a veterans day.
“It’s about providing more seamless care for veterans,” said VA psychologist Dr. Shanyn Aysta, who co-chairs the summit.
The seamless care could come through the National Resource Directory, which is a recently created tri-agency initiative that involves the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs.
Israel said many of the groups invited were unfamiliar to the Salisbury VA hospital’s staff and would be new additions to the National Resource Directory.
“We would have just sent out an email to our peers and asked if they know of anybody,” Israel said. “Now, with a formal directory, we have more resources to send people to the treatment they need.”
One year after the first summit, Israel said Salisbury’s hospital is just now able to use the directory to search for veteran services. One example, Israel said, is equine therapy. Ultimately, she said the directory is about finding services quickly that match veterans needs.
Besides making connections to organizations for future care, VA representatives and community organizations from around the state offered advice for veterans and family members. As part of Thursday’s summit, veterans and organizations talked during roundtable sessions about the best ways to solve post-war issues. Israel said the roundtable discussions are specifically designed to help connect veterans with needed services.
Raphael D’ausilio, a veteran and VA peer support suicide counselor, said first-person experiences with other veterans is the most valuable way to cope with problems.
“It’s most important to connect because you all have that bond,” D’ausilio said. “For Vietnam vets, most of their lives they were unappreciated and they’re at the point now where they are older and at risk for suicide. The highest risk for suicide is 65 and older.”
D’ausilio shared his experience as an example of how war can make normal life difficult.
“I just had a hard time experiencing compassion,” he said. “My daughter came up to me and told me ‘I love you.’ I just didn’t want to hear that, but lots of veterans are also going through the same thing.”
Aysta said the directory could help with stories like D’ausilio’s.
“There are a million entry points into the VA,” she said.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month