Student veterans at universities often find the experience more difficult than their peers, but not everyone is so understanding as to what that experience is.
The University of New Mexico is taking steps to provide better services and education for student veterans. UNM is hosting two workshops to train staff and faculty as to better assist student veterans in their transition back to civilian life. The first workshop will be held on Monday, July 23rd, hosted by Dr. James Goff, the New Mexico Veterans Affairs’ chief of staff. It will be in the SUB, room Lobo A 8:30-4:30.
“The purpose of the workshop is to provide training to staff, faculty, academic advisors and counselors to learn how to serve our student veterans better,” said Lori Peterkin, the event coordinator for the UNM President’s Office.
According to an informational flyer about the workshop,military culture, recognizing PTSD, traumatic brain injury, suicide prevention and community resources for veterans will be topics discussed during the event.
This workshop is for all members of UNM’s community and anyone interested in better understanding the veteran community is encouraged to attend.
There will be a second workshop discussing similar topics on how to help veterans in the Roberts Room in Scholes Hall July 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This workshop will be hosted by Dr. Madeleine Goodkind.
“I primarily work with trainees and outpatient providers here at the VA,” Goodkind said. “A lot of what I do is debunk myths about soldiers with PTSD so that providers can conduct better treatment.”
A major goal of this workshop will be to familiarize clinical providers working at UNM with cognitive processing therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that has been proven effective in treating PTSD, she said.
Goodkind said that misinformation about PTSD can make treatment difficult to implement.
“My most important job is to show the difference between the drama that is portrayed and the nuanced condition veterans are actually dealing with,” Goodkind said.
Goodkind was also very confident about the school’s ability to learn from these workshops, “I train great people into great specialists, and UNM has also been very proactive in helping us.”
“The VA as an institution specializes in training providers,” Goodkind said. “By training providers at UNM I hope more student veterans will decide to stay on-campus and finish their college careers.”
UNM currently has resources such as the Veteran’s Resource Center and the Student Health And Counseling, which are prepared to handle the needs of student veterans. However, in order to better address the needs of the student veteran population, all staff, students and faculty are encouraged to attend the workshops should they have time.
Donald Amble is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Deambler.