How Involved are Non-VA Chaplains in Supporting Veterans?
- 147 Downloads
In terms of supporting veteran populations, little is known of the experiences of chaplains professionally active outside of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare settings. The present study looks to examine how involved non-VA chaplains are in supporting veterans as well as their familiarity with the VA. An online survey was distributed in a convenience sample of chaplains, of which n = 39 met the inclusion criterion for this study (i.e., no past or present VA affiliation). The results find that most of the non-VA chaplains encounter veteran service users either on a weekly or monthly basis. Though familiar with VA services, non-VA chaplains were not sure of their veteran service users’ VA enrollment status nor did they feel able to adequately advise their veteran service users on VA enrollment. The results suggest that non-VA chaplains actively support veteran populations. Opportunities for enhancing chaplaincy services and VA outreach programs are discussed.
KeywordsVeterans Non-VA Community health
Dr. Rasmussen was supported by the Office of Academic Affiliations, Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention. Institutional support for this study was provided by the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention (Canandaigua, NY) and Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (Whippany, NJ). The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the US Government.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of interest
None of the authors voice any conflicts of interest related to the conduct of this research activity.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This survey study received IRB approval from Stanford University and was conducted independent of any external grant funding. Institutional support for this study was provided by the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention (Canandaigua, NY) and Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains (Whippany, NJ).
As per IRB approval, this study was exempt from collecting written informed consent.
- American Public Health Association. (2014). Removing barriers to mental health services for veterans. Policy statements and advocacy. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.apha.org/policies-and-advocacy/public-health-policy-statements/policy-database/2015/01/28/14/51/removing-barriers-to-mental-health-services-for-veterans.
- Bagalman, E. (2014). The number of veterans that use VA health care services: A fact sheet. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.Google Scholar
- Britton, P. C., Kopacz, M. S., Stephens, B., & Bossarte, R. M. (2015). Veterans Crisis Line callers with and without prior VHA service use. Archives of Suicide Research. doi: 10.1080/13811118.2015.1017681.
- House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. (2012). Witness Testimony of M. David Rudd, Ph.D. ABPP, Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Scientific Director, National Center for Veteran Studies University of Utah. Building bridges between VA and community organizations to support veterans and families. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from https://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/m-david-rudd-phd-abpp-2.
- Kang, H. K., Bullman, T. A., Smolenski, D. J., Skopp, N. A., Gahm, G. A., & Reger, M. A. (2015). Suicide risk among 1.3 million veterans who were on active duty during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Annals of Epidemiology, 25(2), 96–100. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.11.020.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Nieuwsma, J. A., Rhodes, J. E., Jackson, G. L., Cantrell, W. C., Lane, M. E., Bates, M. J., et al. (2013). Chaplaincy and mental health in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 19(1), 3–21. doi: 10.1080/08854726.2013.775820.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2014a). Veteran homelessness. Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.va.gov/opa/issues/Homelessness.asp.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2014b). Veterans and mental health. Office of Public and Intergovenmental Affairs. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.va.gov/opa/issues/mental_health.asp.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2015). Faith-based and neighborhood partnerships. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.va.gov/cfbnpartnerships.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs & U.S. Department of Defense. (2014). Joint fact sheet—DoD and VA take new steps to support the mental health needs of service members and veterans. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/26-aug-joint-fact-sheet-final.pdf.