“22 soldiers per day commit suicide,” stated Jared Anderson, VALOR Center Coordinator at John F. Kennedy University. “We have lost more soldiers to suicide than we have to the Taliban. This is a major issue facing society today and this program is our chance to provide support and grow awareness around this tremendous issue.”
On Saturday November 5th, the VALOR Center will be hosting Front Line to Home Front: Moral Injury. This conference is the fourth in a series of annual events addressing the issues facing returning military personnel, their families and veteran service providers.
“Last year we talked about suicide prevention, this year we are continuing that conversation and broadening it to include reasons why this is happening,” shared Anderson. “Our intention is to open the conversation about what the the transition period is like for someone coming out of the military and back into civilian life and how they must reconcile the different contexts.”
“When you’re in the military you are trained to go against your natural instincts. You are trained to run toward the gunfire. You are trained to fight and possibly die for your brothers in combat. You are trained to do things that would go against your moral compass in any other context. But when you get out there isn’t really an “untraining” that takes place. I’ve heard the VA is getting better, but there is still a gap…and that is what we are working to fill,” said Anderson.
Front Line to Home Front is a free half-day workshop that is open to the community. Hosted by the VALOR Center and Continuing Education at John F. Kennedy University, Front Line to Home Front will provide resources for service members, their families and the community service providers that support them as well as provide a place to discuss these critical issues facing veterans and society as a whole.
This year’s speakers include clinical psychologist Kathleen Pierce, who will be addressing the topic of Moral Injury, PTSD and the profound guilt individuals may feel as a consequence of their military service. Dr. Laura Kerr will be speaking on how to respond to moral injury in veterans and Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel Gregory D. Jans from the Air Force will also be in attendance.
“Our hope is to provide that missing structure and support and ease the transition back into civilian life so we can do something about that number,” commented Anderson.