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2017 SE Texas Gulf Coast Region Veterans Mental Health Summit

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Ticket Sales ended 18 August 2017.

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Location

Houston Community College - Central Campus

Main Auditorium

1300 Holman Street

Houston, TX 77004

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Sales Have Ended

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Ticket Sales ended 18 August 2017.
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The Annual Southeast Texas Gulf Coast Veterans Mental Health Summit brings together key stakeholders, agencies, community partners, Veterans service organizations, and Veterans, with the goal of enhancing access to mental health care and the overall well-being of Veterans and their families. The 2017 Veterans Mental Health Summit, hosted by Houston Community College, is a collaborative community event organized by the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston Community College Office of Veterans Affairs, City of Houston Office of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Give an Hour, Gulf Coast Center, Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare, NAMI of Greater Houston, American Legion Post 416, Volunteers of America, Military Veterans Peer Network, The Walk Houston, and the Veterans Consumer Advocacy Council.

Purpose: To facilitate collaborations between Veterans, VA, and community agencies in order to weave together a healthy community network to support the needs of Veterans and their families.

Cost: There is NO COST to attend this event.

CEUs: We have applied for CEUs for behavioral health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed chemical dependency counselors, and peer support specialists. Give an Hour is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for Psychologists and by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to offer CEUs for Social Workers. Give an Hour maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This activity is pending approval from APA and NASW for 4.5 continuing education credits.

Parking: Free. Recommend you park at:
- Student & faculty parking garage (enter from La Branch St),
- Student parking lot 9 (on Alabama Street),
- Student parking lot 10 (on Crawford Street),
- Lot 13 behind the Auditorium: Plenty of handicap parkings closest to the Auditorium, with limited guest parkings (corner of San Jacinto and Alabama Street)


PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Registration & Breakfast: 7:30 - 8:30 am

Opening Ceremonies and Welcoming Remarks: 8:30 am

Two Morning Panel Discussions Plus Time for Networking: 9:00 - 12:00 pm

Panel I: Engaging Justice-Involved Veterans Today for a Better Tomorrow - The panel will discuss evolution of the VA Justice Outreach programs and how the extensive community collaborations leading to development of Veteran Treatment Courts in Harris County serve as a model for other collaborative activities and efforts that engage and serve Veterans and families and promote mental health.

Panel II: Navigating the Road to Mental Health Recovery: Urban and Rural Access to Care - When accessing care, an extensive array of resources is available to Veterans. Veterans are faced with the challenge of knowing what resources they desire. And, it may be difficult for Veterans and service providers to know which resource is right for a Veteran and their individual needs. This panel discusses and explores how to ensure Veterans across the SE Texas/Gulf Coast region get information on resources and ideas about vetting resources.

Lunch (Provided) Plus Time for Networking and Information Gathering: 12:00 - 1:15 pm

Twelve Afternoon Breakout Sessions (1:15-2:15 and 2:30-3:30 pm, Each Session Repeated Twice with Program Wrap-up and Breakout Report-out back in Auditorium at 3:30 - 4:00 pm)

Session A. Veterans Treatment Court Development: Best Practices Veteran Treatment Courts (VTCs), hybrid Drug and Mental Health Courts that focus on former and current members of our Armed Forces, are expanding across the SE Texas/Gulf Coast region to address the needs of justice-involved Veterans of all service-eras who develop substance abuse or mental health problems, often related to their combat experiences. These newer VTCs include representatives from a number of new partners, to include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Veteran mentors of the Military Veteran Peer Network. This session discusses best practices for developing VTC programs. These programs, powered by the passionate and coordinated efforts of volunteer Veteran mentors, clinicians, dedicated community partners, and jail-diversion teams, provide resources, help prevent suicides, and address the unmet needs of justice-involved Veterans on local, state, and federal levels.

Session B. On the Way Home: A Community Response to Ending Veteran Homelessness Those Veterans who experience homelessness represent a spectrum of presentations and needs, coming from different service eras, socio-economic backgrounds, and military exposures. To gain insight and empathize with their circumstances, this session will engage the audience to learn how military culture, in general, affects the presentation of homelessness in a Veteran. Session facilitators will identify barriers and facilitators to mental health care access, thus gaining perspectives on how VA, community partners, and Veteran families can work together to form a healthy network towards recovery, both for better mental health, suicide prevention, and an exit from homelessness.

Session C. It is Healthy to Ask: LGBT-Q Veterans and Mental Health Issues This breakout session will raise awareness among learners about how sexual orientation and gender identity influence mental health and overall health. The session will also discuss ways that learners can be more culturally responsive to LGBT people and aware of the special healthcare needs of LGBT Veterans. The high rates of LGBT Veteran suicidal behavior will be discussed, as well as prevention efforts.

Session D. Engaging Student Veterans in Mental Health Recovery: Warriors, Scholars and Leaders Attaining higher education can be instrumental to a Veteran’s successful community re-integration. Regardless of service era, Veterans often face similar challenges in their adjustment back to school. Commonly, Veterans find themselves older, on average, than their peer civilian students. Visible and invisible military-related injuries can cause stigma. Adjusting to a totally different identity, societal structure, and the feeling that their military experience is not understood by civilians can make Veterans feel like outsiders. Facilitators of this session will address these common psychosocial concerns, using evidence-based information to support best practices, including suicide prevention, in higher education settings serving Veterans.

Session E. Finding Purpose through Sustained Employment: Practical Tools to Assist Veterans This session will cover tools to use in assisting separating Veterans transition successfully into the civilian workforce and why and how career focus can be effective in improving a Veteran's mental health. The stages of career transition, decision-making about vocational direction and needed additional training, and the process of attaining employment will be discussed. The facilitators will demonstrate how coordinated partnering between VA Mental Health and Vocational Rehabilitation services and community-based providers and resources provide a comprehensive framework for successfully transitioning Veterans to the civilian workplace and family and community life.

Session F. Help and Hope for Veteran Families: Engaging, Educating and Empowering This session will focus on engaging community providers to support Veterans and families. The facilitators will provide an overview of the unique challenges faced by families of Veterans and engage participants in a discussion of strategies that foster reintegration and well-being. Facilitators will also discuss programs available to families of Veterans and additional community resources.

Session G. Filling the Gaps: Meeting the Unmet Mental Health Needs of Senior Veterans This presentation will focus on special considerations for Older Veterans when accessing their mental health care. The facilitators will share details and descriptive statistics about the needs of Older Veterans and information about VA and community resources that are available for Older Veterans. Case studies will be used to illustrate how mental health issues impact older Veterans in both unique and similar ways to younger Veterans. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas about collaborations that could enhance the care received by our Senior Veterans.

Session H. Faith, Hope and Beyond - Weaving a Network of Support between Faith-Based Organizations and Mental Health Care In many cases, Veterans or their families will turn first to clergy, instead of mental health providers, for help with a crisis or their distress. This breakout session will look at ways to inform faith-based organizations about issues facing Veterans, as well as resources, and facilitate partnerships. We will discuss the VA Community Clergy Training Project as well as faith-based outreach of the Texas Veterans Commission.

Session I. She Who Borne the Battle: Mental Health Recovery in Women Veterans This session will discuss how military culture uniquely impacts the experience and presentations of Women Veterans seeking mental health care and the various factors that facilitate or undermine access to care for Women Veterans. The unique risk factors for suicide among women Veterans and suicide prevention interventions will also be discussed.

Session J. Finding Healing Through Your Passion: Artistic pursuits, athletic endeavors, and community service are often critical for Veterans in their healing, finding their path of recovery, and facilitating community reintegration. This session will discuss how military and Veteran experiences influence self-expression. The barriers and facilitators to such self-expression will be identified, as well as resources for Veterans who are exploring their talents and passions. Special considerations regarding suicidality and suicide prevention in the context of self-expression will also be discussed.

Session K. “You Want Me To Work With Whom?" This session addresses the knowledge gap of treatment providers about the important work of Peer Support Specialists (PSS), Veterans who have lived experience with mental illness, in our approaches to the mental health care of Veterans. Their military background, experience as a mental health consumer, and training in mental health recovery and peer support services allow PSS to engage Veterans in ways that are unique from clinicians. Challenges to Provider-PSS partnerships and their impact on suicide prevention will be discussed.

Session L – When Violence Hits Home: This session discusses the tactics that military intimate partner violence perpetrators use to gain and maintain control over their partner, and how these tactics can create barriers to service access. Facilitators will discuss the use of a trauma-informed lens when responding to military personnel, Veterans, and military partners/spouses who are suspected of experiencing intimate partner violence. The relationship between intimate partner violence and suicide will also be discussed.

Other program highlights:

* Special Performance of a Warrior's Story-telling from the Alley Theater Telling Project.

* Vendor/Exhibitor tables representing regional community agencies and programs serving Veterans

* Display of photography and art work depicting warrior experiences.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Susanna Chan, LCSW, BCD, Local Recovery Coordinator, Michael E. DeBakey VAMC
713-791-1414 extension 24731, or VA cell: (832) 537-8364
Email: susanna.chan@va.gov




Date and Time

Location

Houston Community College - Central Campus

Main Auditorium

1300 Holman Street

Houston, TX 77004

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