HELENA – Healthcare providers gathered at Carroll College on Thursday, August 9 for the 5th Montana Joining Community Forces Service Provider Symposium.
Representatives from over 30 service providers attended the professional development opportunity which included workshops and networking opportunities.
“Montana is a small state, but we do have one of the highest veteran populations in the states,” said Vice President of Montana Joining Community Forces Sara Cease, “Making sure providers have the skills they need is very important.”
The American Red Cross held two sessions at the event; one focusing on mind-body skills and the other on how to recognize the signs of depression in a patient.
According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services 20 percent of veterans reported to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Only around half of veterans reported receiving counseling or treatment.
“A number of our service members come home with invisible injuries,” said Brandy Keely the Director of Veterans Services at Carroll College, “As a community we need to learn how to recognize [mental health] symptoms and help connect those people to the resources they need.”
Organizers say the event is also a great way to connect providers and foster a better veteran’s healthcare community.
“We need to have a great understanding of what we’re able to provide for veterans and service members,” said Keely, “That way we’re able to identify gaps in services and figure out solutions on how to fill those gaps. And really make access easier for our service members and veterans here in our community.”
On Saturday Aug. 18 Montana Joining Forces will be holding a Free Community Resource Fair & Veterans Stand-Down.
The resource fair will feature over seventy booths and various events throughout the day.
For more information visit the Montana Joining Community Forces Facebook page.