A workshop focusing on the on-going effects of war on members of the armed forces and their families will be held Wednesday, Sept. 3 on the campus of St. Mary’s University.

The workshop, titled “Invisible Wounds of War: Impact on Families,” is sponsored by St. Mary’s University and the San Antonio Area Foundation. It is a part of the Partners Across Texas program of the Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee, which is sponsored by Adjutant General of Texas Lt. Gen. Charles Rodriguez. 

The workshop will focus on a recent report published by the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, called “Invisible Wounds of War,” which details how non-physical wounds such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression and traumatic brain injury can be invisible to family members and society, but often affect mood, thought and behavior of the service members.

The purpose of the workshop is to understand how these invisible wounds impact families, and also to present community-based services that provide support and care for family members. It is designed to familiarize members of the military community with resources that are available in civilian settings and self-support.

The keynote for the workshop will be Dr. Terry Schell, from the RAND Center, who was a contributing author to the study.  The workshop will be held in the University Center, Conference Room A. Reservations for the workshop are not necessary; however, lunch reservations can be made by calling 431-4394.

Other speakers will include Dana Sommers with Randolph ISD, who will discuss support group programs for children; Dr. Robert T. Frame with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, who will discuss post traumatic stress disorder; and Dr. Jan Kennedy with Wilford Hall Medical Center, and Dr. Pamela Fitzpatrick with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, who will discuss the impact of traumatic brain injury on families.

Hosting this conference is part of St. Mary’s ongoing effort to assist with mental health services for members of the armed services. Last year, the St. Mary’s Department of Counseling and Human Services received a two-year, $284,000 grant to provide counseling services for military members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The grant is from the Texas Resources for Iraq-Afghanistan Deployment Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation.

The counseling department is providing a range of services to military members and their families including marital therapy, family and play therapy and individual counseling at multiple sites across the San Antonio region. Services are provided by advanced graduate students in the St. Mary’s counseling program.

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