Program Helping Veterans Transition - - ABC13

Program Helping Veterans Transition

Session Thursday Session Thursday

Reporter: Sally Delta

Lynchburg, VA - The Virginia Wounded Warrior program's goal is to ease the transition for veterans from combat to coming home. 

Thursday, they partnered with Central Virginia Community Services for a clinic to train those who provide clinical services to veterans. The session shed light on how family and friends of veterans can make the transition a little easier.

Ben Shaw served in the Marine Corps for 4.5 years and says his transition back home wasn't easy.

"I lost all my money, lost all my friends except for one, ended up living in my parents' house in their basement, I was an alcoholic thinking there's no point in living."

He says when he left the military environment, he no longer knew how to identify himself.

"No one in Starbucks cares that I can threat assess or how accurately I shoot, this is how I identified myself, who am I now," said Shaw.

So now he works for the Wounded Warrior program as a peer specialist. He was one of the few to share his story to this group of clinicians to help them understand what transitioning is really like.

Camilla Schwoebel is director of the group.

"Then when they see folks coming in they've got some ground there, they can relate better they won't have to stop the person every couple of seconds to ask what something means."

They also gave the clinicians online tools. The website Family of Heroes uses games to help people understand how someone with PTSD may act and teaches them how best to respond.

"What the program of family heroes lets them do is to change the way they would approach that and then it will give them a rating as to whether that actually helped or hindered the communication process. So it's really going to be a great tool for family members to have," said Schwoebel.

They also have a couple's retreat coming up in a few weeks here in Lynchburg where veteran couples stay in a hotel and work on communication.

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