News • August 10, 2018

CBU hosts summit aimed at improving mental wellness for veterans

CBU hosts summit aimed at improving mental wellness for veterans

Riverside, Calif. (Aug. 10, 2018) – A Veterans’ Mental Health Wellness Summit held at California Baptist University Aug. 9 attracted more than 400 participants, including veterans and their family members.

The event was organized by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at CBU and the Veterans Affair Loma Linda Healthcare System. It sought to bring awareness to mental health issues veterans face and present suicide prevention options.

“It is so important for everyone to be involved. We must create a safety net for our veterans and their families,” said Melissa Conrad, interim chief of Mental Health for the Veterans Affairs Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Presenters at the summit included clinicians, veterans, veteran affairs employees and CBU faculty members. Sessions covered topics such as transitioning out of the military, mental health services for veterans, caring for women veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder and early signs of mental illness.

“This event represents a wonderful partnership as we work together to provide the best services and care for our veterans and service members,” said Dr. Jacqueline Gustafson, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at CBU.

Jennifer Costello, assistant professor of social work at CBU, help organize the event. For Costello, the topic hits close to home as her husband is an Army veteran and her son is serving in the U.S. Marines.

The event helps veterans know what resources are available and for families and clinicians to understand how they can help, Costello said.

Ted Peterson (’11) served in the Navy and the Army Reserves. Five years ago, with the intervention of fellow veterans and his wife, Peterson got help for depression. He is now a peer support specialist with the Veterans Affairs Loma Linda Healthcare System, offering support to other veterans.

“This event breaks the stigma. It’s OK to talk about some of these things and not feel like you’re weak or broken,” Peterson said.