Tag Archives: military

Helping Veterans Make the Transition to Civilian Life

The latest edition of the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal features a chapter by PAR authors Melissa A. Messer, MHS, and Jennifer A. Greene, MSPH.

The article details the development of the newest edition to our Self-Directed Search® product line, the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder™ (VMOF™), and explains how to use this new tool when counseling veterans through their transition from the military to the civilian job force. The VMOF helps clients better understand how to transition their skills to civilian occupations through use of John Holland’s RIASEC theory of career development.

The entire Fall 2014 edition of the Career Planning and Adult Development Journal focuses on helping veterans with career development and transition.

Click here to read the article by Melissa A. Messer, MHS, and Jennifer A. Greene, MSPH.

 

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Soldiers Using More Mental Health Services, Stigma Down

According to new research conducted at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, the proportion of soldiers using mental health services nearly doubled between 2003 and 2011. Furthermore, researchers found a small but significant decrease in the perceived stigma associated with seeking mental health services.

In 2003, only about 8 percent of soldiers sought mental health services. In 2011, about 15 percent of soldiers did so. Even with the increase in the number of soldiers seeking mental health help, researcher Phillip Quartana stated that two-thirds of soldiers with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) or major depression symptoms did not seek treatment between 2002 and 2011. More than 25 percent of active infantry soldiers from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, dating back to the beginning of the conflicts in 2001, met self-reported criteria for these diagnoses. While the number of soldiers seeking help has increased and the stigma associated with seeking mental health services has decreased, these results demonstrate that more progress is needed to increase soldiers’ use of mental health care services.

Researchers used data from active-duty personnel who completed Health-Related Behavior Surveys between 2002 and 2011. This study is the first to empirically examine trends concerning utilization of services and stigma across multiple wars.

The study was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

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Career Help for Returning Veterans

The transition from military career to civilian life can be a real challenge, and finding a good job is one of the most important factors in a veteran’s success. This month, PAR is pleased to introduce The Veterans and Military Occupations Finder™ (VMOF), a new product designed specifically to help veterans meet this challenge.

Working in conjunction with the Self-Directed Search® (SDS®), the VMOF allows users to explore career options by linking military occupation titles with civilian jobs. After taking the SDS, users can match their three-letter Holland Summary Code to Occupational Information Network (O*NET) career options and education requirements. The VMOF will help users to better understand how they can apply the skills they developed in the military to civilian occupations.

The VMOF includes two indexes. The first lists current Military Occupational Classifications (MOCs), along with corresponding two-letter Summary Codes, from each of the five branches of the military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard). The second lists MOCs from each of the five branches along with corresponding civilian occupations and their two-letter Summary Codes.

An online edition of the VMOF, which includes select portions of the print edition, is available at the newly revised SDS Web site; the full version is available in a print format.

The SDS will be featured at the National Career Development Association’s Global Conference in Boston next week! Visit PAR at Booth #12 to learn more about the VMOF and the upcoming SDS 5th Edition.

Some NCDA program highlights include:

Monday, July 8:

“Remembering John Holland and Furthering His Impact on Career Services” (3:00-4:10 p.m.)

“Understanding Relationships among Holland’s Self-Directed Search, the Career Thoughts Inventory, and the Career Tension Scale” (3:00-4:10 p.m.)

“The Development of the Working Styles Assessment” (4:30-5:40 p.m.)

Tuesday, July 9:

“Improving Career Interventions by Better Assessing Readiness for Decision Making” (3:00-4:10 p.m.)

Wednesday, July 10:

“The Development of a Revised Version of Holland’s Self-Directed Search” (8:00-9:00 a.m.)

We hope to see you at NCDA!

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Job-Search Challenges Hinder Young Veterans’ Reintegration into Civilian Life

Figures on the rate of unemployment among veterans can be confusing as media outlets report only parts of the story. Although the overall unemployment rate among vets has dropped slightly in recent months, a March 2013 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the rate is 9.9%, about 2% higher than for the general population. In short, more than 200,000 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now unemployed (see the Harvard Kennedy School’s Research Roundup for a summary of recent studies on veterans and unemployment).

As a result of their military service, veterans often face additional obstacles that contribute to difficulties as they look for work. Conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other physical and mental disorders are common among veterans. A recent study found a direct correlation between depression and unemployment rates among veterans; the good news is that improved depression status (following treatment at VA hospitals) was associated with an increased likelihood of becoming employed.

The U.S. government, the Department of Defense, and other public and private institutions offer some support for veterans seeking civilian careers. For example, the revised G.I. Bill focuses on retraining, and tax credits are now available for employers who hire veterans. However, many veterans’ organizations are calling for more help for young vets transitioning from active duty.

For veterans, active-duty military personnel, and the career counselors who work with them, PAR is developing a new component of the popular Self-Directed Search® (SDS®) designed specifically to support the transition from a military career to a civilian career. Scheduled to release in July, the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder™ matches an individual’s military occupation code with civilian career possibilities. Used with the SDS, this new tool will help veterans explore their interests and capitalize on the skills they developed in the military. Finding a good job is one of the most important factors in a veteran’s successful transition to civilian life, and the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder provides a starting point for that search. To learn more, visit the SDS Web site and look for updates about the release of this new addition to the SDS product line.

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Suicide in the Military: Can Technology Help Reduce the Risk?

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to address the growing problem of suicide among members of the military, using technology to strengthen communication between active-duty troops or veterans and the mental health professionals who can help them. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki says that the VA will be making greater use of videoconferences between doctors and their patients, according to a June story from the Associated Press.

Suicides this year among active-duty military personnel now outnumber battle deaths, according to Pentagon statistics (New York Times, June 8). Between January 1 and June 8, 2012, there were 154 suicides—an average of one per day and an 18 percent increase over the number of suicides during the same period in 2011.

The VA is planning to use videoconferencing to eliminate some of the barriers that prevent members of the military from seeking help for feelings of distress or suicidal thoughts. Videoconferencing can reduce the amount of time patients spend traveling, making it more convenient to meet with a health care provider. Shinseki said that members of today’s military are comfortable with online chats, and working with them in this way can help reduce some of the stigma that patients feel about their mental health concerns. ‘‘Shame keeps too many veterans from seeking help,’’ Shinseki said.

The VA is also stepping up its use of electronic health records, according to the AP story. In recent months, Congress has criticized Shinseki about the length of time that some veterans have had to wait before receiving a full mental health evaluation from the VA. By integrating electronic health records among departments, the VA hopes to expedite treatment for veterans who need immediate attention.

VA officials estimate that up to two-thirds of all veterans who commit suicide have never asked for the VA’s help, a reality that Shinseki called frustrating and disheartening. “We know when we diagnose and treat, veterans get better,” he told the audience at a recent veterans suicide prevention conference, “but we can’t influence and help those we don’t see” (Stars and Stripes digital edition).

What do you think? Is videoconferencing a viable option for improving the responsiveness of mental health services for active-duty personnel or veterans? Do you use technology to communicate with clients—military or otherwise—in your practice? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

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