November 12, 2018
Online courses will provide training to thousands of volunteers who work with justice-involved Veterans.
Through a collaboration between content provider Justice For Vets and host PsychArmor Institute with funding provided by Robert R. McCormick Foundation, New York State Health Foundation, and the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, a new portfolio of 10 free, online courses that will train thousands of Justice For Vets Veteran volunteer Veteran mentors who work with justice-involved Veterans, is in development.
Far too many service members struggle with mental health and substance issues that may lead to involvement in the criminal justice system. While most Veterans are strengthened by their experience in the military, approximately one-in-six Post 9-11 Veterans struggle with addiction and one-in-five experience symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Left untreated, these issues make it challenging to adjust to civilian life and can lead to a myriad of issues, including unemployment, homelessness, and arrest. Approximately 700,000 Veterans are currently in the U.S. criminal justice system, many arrested on charges directly related to PTSD, addiction or other service-connected mental health issues.
“Justice For Vets” was founded in response to the needs of Veterans involved in the legal system. Since its inception, Justice For Vets has helped implement hundreds of veteran treatment courts (VTC), an alternative to incarceration that connect justice-involved Veterans with the treatment, structure and mentoring needed to reclaim their lives. The incorporation of volunteer Veterans who serve as mentors in VTC has been proven critical to the success of the program. The rapid increase in VTCs, coupled with the geographic diversity of volunteers, has made training Veteran mentors challenging.
Volunteer Veteran mentors provide the support Veterans need to turn their lives around. Justice For Vets demonstrated experience developing and presenting mentor training combined with PsychArmor's ability to produce high-quality online instruction will provide the opportunity for thousands of veteran treatment court volunteer Veteran mentors nationwide to learn the fundamentals of their work and promote the addition of well-trained new mentors to the system.
“New York was home to the first Veterans Treatment Court in the nation a decade ago, and they’ve since spread across the country because they work,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., President and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation. “Veteran mentors are an essential ingredient that makes them work, and we are excited to partner with PsychArmor to train hundreds more peer mentors and help veterans gain access to high-quality problem-solving courts.”
The collaboration between Robert R. McCormick Foundation, New York State Health Foundation, the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, Justice For Vets, and PsychArmor Institute leverage existing systems, curriculum, and technology.
“Across the nation, volunteer Veterans are continuing to be of service by mentoring their fellow Veterans. PsychArmor Institute is a national leader in providing online education, and Justice For Vets is honored to partner in an effort to ensure all volunteer veterans have access to the training they need. This project would not be possible without the generous contributions of foundations committed to ensuring no Veteran is left behind, and we are grateful for the support,” added Clyde "Butch" Tate, General Counsel, Justice For Vets
Course topics for volunteer training include “What is a Veterans Treatment Court,” “Role of the Mentor,” “Needs of the Veteran participant,” “Military versus Veteran culture,” “Boundaries, Ethics, and Confidentiality,” “Community Resources,” “Suicide Prevention,” “Mental Health Needs,” “Substance Use,” and “Communication Skills.”
Justice For Vets launched the National Mentor Corps in 2014 to provide training and support to volunteer Veterans in VTCs. Justice For Vets has trained thousands of Veterans to serve as mentors. The addition of online training will help ensure all VTC participants have support from a trained Veteran mentor.
Justice for Vets is dedicated to transforming the way the justice system responds to veterans with substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and trauma by leading the national effort to put a veterans treatment court in reach of every veteran in need. Justice For Vets provides training and technical assistance to help communities bring together local, state and federal resources to directly serve justice-involved veterans. In doing so, Justice For Vets keeps veterans out of jail and prison while connecting them with the benefits and treatment they have earned. Justice For Vets is a division of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Visit JusticeForVets.org to learn more.
The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust envisions a human community that recognizes each individual as vital to the strength, richness, and well-being of the whole, and that motivates, empowers, and invites each to contribute and participate according to his or her ability and potential. Created in 1989, the Trust stewards the charitable intentions of May and Stanley Smith beyond their lifetimes. The Trust aims to focus, deepen, and enhance efforts to achieve significant, lasting, positive changes that promote well-being for Adults and Transitioning Youth with Disabilities, Elders, Foster Youth, and Veterans and Military Families.
The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Today, NYSHealth concentrates its work in two strategic priority areas: building healthy communities and empowering healthcare consumers. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health care system and the health of New Yorkers, serving as a neutral convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners.
PsychArmor Institute is a national nonprofit that provides FREE Online Education and support through a robust online library of more than 120 digital courses for any American who wants to learn to better work with, live with or care for military service members, Veterans, and their families. Portfolios, organized by how the learners interact with Veterans, include courses for Caregivers, Educators, Employers, Healthcare Providers, Nonprofits, and Volunteers. Two new portfolios, Transitioning Service Members and their Families and Communities Serving Veterans, for active duty will be live in fall 2018. Learn more at , , , or
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