By Gregg Zoroya
October 4, 2009
Universities are creating classes to train students in how to treat combat veterans and their families suffering from war-related mental health problems.
As psychologically wounded troops return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the initiatives range from workshops to semester-long graduate courses, such as one on military culture next year at the University of Washington-Tacoma. The University of Southern California is starting a master's program in which students will interact with holographic images of troops in distress
"I think across the nation, a lot of schools of social work have concluded that we need to do something," says Jose Coll, director of USC's military social work program, which offers a degree that emphasizes treating veterans.
In addition to treatment methods, the classes teach military culture, the combat experience and what military families endure. That's a way of life that's mysterious to many new behavioral health students, educators say.
"This is sort of cultural awareness education," says James Martin, a retired Army colonel and Bryn Mawr College professor who has worked on several programs.
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