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Veteran Peers Supporting Mental Health Recovery MP3 - NAMI TX 2016

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Item Number: NATX-16-018-M
Veteran Peers Supporting Mental Health Recovery - Elisa V. Borah, MSW, PhD; Tim Keesling Elisa V. Borah, MSW, PhD is a research associate at The University of Texas School of Social Work at Austin within the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health. She is currently building the Veteran Spouse Network, a project funded by the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute that facilitates veteran spouses' involvement in research related to veteran families' mental health and social support needs. In 2015, Elisa served as the lead evaluator of statewide veterans' mental health services, specifically examining the Texas Military Veteran Peer Network. Elisa co-chairs the annual Military Social Work conference at The University of Texas at Austin. Tim Keesling is the Manager of the Veterans Mental Health program at the Texas Veterans Commission. This program is focused on providing training and technical assistance to peer support providers and coordinators at the local mental health authorities across the state, clinical mental health providers, and partner organizations who deliver direct peer services to the Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) who have been impacted by military-related traumas. Tim serves as a consultant to Veteran Treatment Courts, Veteran One-Stop Resource Centers, and non-profits focused on providing supportive services to SMVF. During his 20-year career in the US Army, he served in multiple locations throughout the world, both in peacetime and in combat. His military honors include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Action Badge, and numerous other medals, badges, and decorations. A veteran peer is a former military service member who can offer camaraderie and support to another veteran based on a shared military identity. Veteran peer support can address multiple types of concerns: suicide prevention, social support needs, and mental health recovery-related issues. For example, a veteran with PTSD who has learned to manage his or her symptoms effectively can support another veteran also suffering from PTSD. Their shared experience of PTSD can lead to the development of a supportive bond based on a shared, lived experience. Other shared experiences that can lend support may be based on having engaged in combat and/or experiencing similar challenges reintegrating into civilian life. This presentation will describe several examples of veteran peer support programs with an in-depth description of the Texas Military Veteran Peer Network, a Texas funded program in coordination with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Veterans Commission.
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