National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter and Department of Veterans Affairs Work Together to Take a Closer Look at the Mental Health Needs of Veterans and their Families

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The mental health needs of veterans and their families are a growing issue of concern among the American public. There has never been a more crucial time for the National Association of Social Workers and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work together on a joint symposium.

This topic is extremely timely, all communities are seeing an increasing number of veterans returning home. As social work professionals, we play a crucial role with veterans and their families as they as they cope with war experiences.

The mental health needs of veterans and their families are a growing issue of concern among the American public. There has never been a more crucial time for the National Association of Social Workers and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work together.

At this year's NASW Illinois Chapter Symposium, the focus will be on educating social workers on how to deal with active American military personnel who are facing difficulties making the transition to civilian life. Symposium workshops will be led by social workers from VA facilities throughout the state and will discuss the VA's resources and referral methods available. Kristin Day, LCSW, Chief Consultant, Care Management and Social Work Services, Office of Patient Care Services, Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC will serve as the Symposium's keynote speaker.

Dennis Cockrum, chairman of the Symposium Committee, said, "This topic is extremely timely, all communities are seeing an increasing number of veterans returning home. As social work professionals, we play a crucial role with veterans and their families as they as they cope with war experiences."

NASW is pleased to announce that they recently endorsed Give an Hour, a nonprofit organization that provides free mental services to U.S. military personnel and families. A network of national volunteers is being built to help target U.S. troops affected time spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. Give an Hour also reaches out to help family members who aren't entitled to receive mental health benefits from the military.

The whole premise of this organization is focused on the balance that is created. All mental health professionals are being asked to give an hour a week to provide free services to those dealing with the effects of war. After treatment is given, the individual is given the opportunity to also give an hour back by helping out in their own communities. This is all done in order to help as they reintegrate back in their families and communities. Whether it's a veteran or their family, a social worker can give help and hope.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Illinois Chapter's one day Symposium, will be held on Friday, September 19, 2008 at the University of Illinois, Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Registration fees start at $100, to register online, please visit http://www.naswil.org.

This event will also recognize four outstanding individuals who will receive awards. The 2008 recipients are; U.S. Congressman Phil Hare, Dr. Daniel Detwiler, Karen Zangerle and JoAnn Pisel.

Information about NASW is available at http://www.naswil.org.

For further assistance please contact Emily Norton, NASW Communications Coordinator, at 312.236.8308 x111.

NASW is the largest professional association of social workers, with more than 150,000 members worldwide. Chicago-based NASW (http://www.naswil.org) is the nation's sixth largest chapter, with more than 7,000 members.

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