Not nearly enough people are trained to work specifically with soldiers, veterans and their families. By training high-quality mental health practitioners with a focus on military psychology and providing a hands-on practicum, we are doing our part to help solve this pressing problem.
Especially in the days before and since Veterans’ Day this week, Joseph E. Troiani, Ph.D., coordinator of the Adler School’s Psy.D. Military Psychology track and a retired U.S. Navy Commander, has been busy discussing the mental health challenges faced by current soldiers and veterans.
He spoke at the Union League Club of Chicago (ULCC) on Thursday, Nov. 8, for the “Support Our Troops Military Reception” hosted by the Chicago Tribune writer and radio personality Rick Kogan, to honor and support those serving in all branches of the United States Armed Forces. Dr. Troiani was a keynote speaker along with Marie Tillman, who directs the Pat Tillman Foundation on behalf of her late husband Pat Tillman, U.S. Army Specialist and former NFL player.
For his remarks, Dr. Troiani and six Adler School students, three of which are veterans, addressed the mental health problems that many soldiers battle during combat and as they attempt to reintegrate into civilian life.
Dr. Troiani explained to about 300 ULCC members that although veterans account for only 2 percent of the population, they represent about 20 percent of suicides and about 30 percent of the homeless population in the U.S.
The next day, Dr. Troiani traveled to Dixon, Ill. to train more than 100 medical practitioners, including physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, on how to work specifically with veterans. Several small towns like Dixon, Dr. Troiani explained, have National Guard units that have been deployed at one point or another in the last few years. Yet, these towns don’t have the mental health resources to treat their troops when they return.
This issue echoed again on Saturday, Nov. 10, as Dr. Troiani spoke at a “sneak preview” reception preceding the public debut of the National Veterans Art Museum in its new space in Chicago. [Dr. Troiani’s Adler School colleague Dr. Grady Garner spoke at Sunday’s public opening, attended by veterans, their families, Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, and a number of Illinois legislators and Chicago alderman.]
Dr. Troiani has been involved with the museum since 1984, and now has helped to establish an Adler School Community Service Practicum for his students to help with grant writing and program development at the museum.
In all of his outreach, Dr. Troiani addresses the need to provide mental health services that support soldiers while they are in military service and afterward. He sees the Adler School as playing a vital role in this pursuit.
“There are not nearly enough people trained to work specifically with soldiers, veterans and their families,” Dr. Troiani says.
“By training high-quality mental health practitioners with a focus on military psychology and providing a hands-on practicum, we are doing our part to help solve this pressing problem.”