Headed Home Webinar Series

In 2022, the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Military and Veterans Subcommittee presents the Headed Home Webinar Series, which is a continuation of the Home Stretch Webinar Series.

Join our upcoming Military & Veterans Suicide Prevention Conference!

The Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Military Subcommittee presents: The 2022 Military & Veterans Suicide Prevention Conference. Come join us on Wednesday, September 7th from 8:30am to 12:30pm at Bethany Beach Training Site DE National Guard. Pre-registration is required. You must show your ID to enter the training site/parking.

Headed Home Series: Spiritual Care for Moral Injury

This panel discussion focused on how various types of spiritual care can increase the resiliency of military veterans suffering from moral injury. The following learning objectives were covered: defining moral injury, spirituality and resiliency; explaining how spiritual care resources and religious care resources may differ; exploring how moral injury and post-traumatic stress are related; addressing why post-traumatic stress is important in providing effective care for veterans who are suffering from moral injury; explaining why a connection to a supportive community is an important factor in providing effective spiritual care for military veterans suffering from moral injury; and giving several examples of methodologies that have proven effective for increasing resilience in military veterans suffering from moral injury.

→ To Watch:

Presenters:

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC

Jessica Lewis, CPT, CNC is an Accredited T’ai Chi Chih Instructor and Delaware’s only authorized instructor for the Federal program Tai Chi for Veterans, underwritten and facilitated by the VA Community Care network. TC4V was a direct outgrowth of both the Mission Act and the significant body of research establishing Tai Chi as an evidence-based drug-free treatment option for all chronic conditions prevalent in the Veteran population, including PTS and suicidal ideation. All qualified Veterans are eligible to participate in this program (both in-person and virtually) at no cost. Jessica’s journey towards this work began with two pivotal direct experiences: caregiving for her first husband, a Vietnam Veteran who died of complications related to Agent Orange poisoning and PTS, and the completely unexpected suicide of beloved family member. Although Jessica also provides Personal Training and Nutritional Counseling via her private practice SCULPT YOUR LIFE®, she is particularly devoted to veteran health: she’s an active member of the Interfaith Veterans Workgroup, the Subcommittee for Military & Veteran Suicide Prevention, and Delaware Joining Forces. But above all she loves teaching veterans the MOVING MINDFULNESS practice of Tai Chi, both in groups and individually, throughout the week.

Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Davis

Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Davis

The Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Davis is an honorably retired pastor in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. During a combat tour in Vietnam in 1970 he experienced a call to ministry. This occurred while he was serving in the Mekong Delta as a military adviser to a South Vietnamese coastal base, patrolling canals and rivers in wooden junks. Following his military service Tom served for nine and a half years as a campus pastor, first at Duke University, and then at the University of Miami. During the next fourteen years in Miami he served as a small church pastor part time, taught ethics and pastoral care at the South Florida Center for Theological Studies, and led the Counseling Ministry of South Florida. In 1999 he moved back to his hometown, Wilmington, Delaware, and pastored Hanover Street Presbyterian Church. After retiring in 2007 Tom took up photography and filmmaking, and explored how to use the Internet for interfaith peacemaking. Concerned about the high rate of suicide among military veterans, in 2015 he founded the Interfaith Veterans’ Workgroup to help veterans transition to civilian life and use their warrior wisdom for peacemaking. Pastor Davis and his wife, Alice, celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary last March. They have two sons and four grandchildren, three in Los Angeles and one in London.

Fr. Donald Van Alstyne, MIC, M.Div, MSW

Fr. Donald Van Alstyne, MIC, M.Div, MSW

Fr. Donald Van Alstyne, MIC, M.Div, MSW was drafted into the United States Army November 1, 1966-68. In 1996 he went active duty as an Army Catholic Chaplain. His first duty assignment was to the 725th Main Support Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. In January 2000, he was deployed to Bosnia Herzegovina for Operation Joint Forge (OJF) in the heavily disputed territories of the Balkans. Upon returning back to Schofield, Barracks he was assigned to the 65th Engineer Battalion (L). In January 2001 Chaplain Van Alstyne was assigned to the 44th Engineer Battalion (H) in South Korea near the DMZ. A year later Chaplain Van Alstyne was reassigned for a second year in Korea with the 122nd Signal Battalion at Camp Red Cloud Headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division. Over the course of his career Chaplain Van Alstyne served in the infantry with the 110th Military Intelligence Battalion, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. During this tour of duty, he deployed to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Soon thereafter, in 2005, he was assigned as the Catholic pastor in Mannheim, Germany. In 2007 Chaplain Van Alstyne continued to serve as pastor for the Catholic Military Community, FT Bliss, El Paso Texas. He steadily moved in successive assignments, in substantially challenging positions of responsibility, in the Infantry as the Brigade Chaplain for the Third Brigade, First Armored Division 2009-2013. He deployed with them once again to Afghanistan, ministering to soldiers in forward operating bases in both Wardak and Logar Provinces. Chaplain Van Alstyne’s storied career culminated with his assignment as the Catholic Military Community Pastor at Joint Base Ft. Eustis, VA, January 2013-September 2015. Chaplain (MAJ)Van Alstyne’s military education included the Chaplains Officer Basic Candidate Course, the Career Course at Fort Jackson, S.C. and the Command and General Staff College, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Chaplain Van Alstyne’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (1 OLC), the Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Army Service Medal. The Chief of the Army Transportation awarded Chaplain Van Alstyne The Ancient Order of Saint Christopher Medal, the highest award the Transportation Corps can award to any member of the Regiment. After Chaplain Van Alstyne’s retirement from the United States Army, he became the full-time Catholic Chaplain for the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and currently working full-time at the VA Medical Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

Headed Home Series on Resilience: The Nuts & Bolts

This webinar offered a practical approach to understanding what it means to be resilient and building personal resilience. The presenter, Leslye Moore, introduced breathing tools and practical wisdom to manage the mind and emotions and relieve stress (experiential). The following learning objectives were covered: knowing the nuts and bolts of resilience, understanding the nature of the mind and how it can help or prevent us from being resilient, and learning practical breathing tools and life principles for a centered mind. To watch the webinar, check out the recording below!

Presenter:

Leslye Moore

Leslye Moore

National Director at Project Welcome Home Troops

Leslye Moore balances her training in delivering mind-body resilience tools of breath work, yoga and meditation with 30 years of non-profit leadership in key positions. Leslye works across the United States with VA hospitals, Vet Centers, military installations and local and Federal institutions to bring transformative healing to Veterans and service members with service related chronic and post-traumatic stress. Prior to joining PWHT, Leslye’s career in humanitarian work took her to Rwanda, Croatia where she worked with trauma-affected populations. As a Deputy Director for the International Rescue Committee in Croatia, Leslye collaborated with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the International War Crimes Tribunal and the International Red Cross. Stateside, Leslye directed a number of federally funded programs for refugee resettlement, anti-human trafficking, disaster relief and research and evaluation on disease prevention projects.

Home Stretch Webinar Series

In 2021, the Home Stretch Webinar Series was offered monthly for the entire military community (active military, veterans, family members, caregivers, etc.). Each webinar presented a different mental health related topic pertaining to the military community.

Disclaimer: The information provided in the Home Stretch Webinar Series is resource-related, and no official endorsement by Mental Health Association in Delaware for the information presented is intended or should be inferred.  Our goal is to provide the community with information and available resources so that each individual can make their own informed decision about what best promotes their own wellness.

January: "Compassionate Care Hospice"
This presentation provided a brief overview of the hospice program and the value of hospice for our veterans. It highlighted the commitment to caring for and honoring those who have served when they reach the end of life.

Presenter Bios – Compassionate Care Hospice- January 19, 2021
PowerPoint Presentation- Compassionate Care Hospice- January 19, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation  – Compassionate Care Hospice – January 19, 2021

February: "S.A.V.E. (Suicide Prevention Program)"
This presentation offered S.A.V.E., a one hour gatekeeper training program provided by VA suicide prevention coordinators to Veterans and those who serve Veterans. The training stands for:

Signs of suicide
Asking about suicide
Validating feelings
Encouraging help

PowerPoint Presentation- SAVE (Suicide Prevention) – February 16, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation – S.A.V.E. – February 16, 2021

March: "Spirituality during and after a Pandemic"
During this pandemic, connecting with our spiritual, religious, or other communities has been a challenge. Finding strength in traditions, texts, rituals, practices, holy times and/or even seasons may not have been as easy as in past years due to the lack of community. This presentation examined this question, “What can we do to maintain our spirituality during these times of social distancing and thereafter?”

PowerPoint Presentation- Spirituality During and After a Pandemic- March 16, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation – Spirituality – March 16, 2021

April: "Room to Breathe"
This session offered insight into the science and power of the breath as well as to manage the mind and emotions and relieve stress. Several simple breathing techniques were taught.

PowerPoint Presentation- Room to Breathe – Managing the Mind with the Breath – April 20, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation – Managing the Mind with the Breath – April 20, 2021
Virtual Power Breath Course (May 2021)

May: "Women's Health"
This presention dicussed women’s health, mental health, trauma, work/life balance and coping mechanisms we all can use.

PowerPoint Presentation- Women’s Health – May 18, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation – Women’s Health – May 18, 2021

June: "Pandemic of Grief"
In the wake of the global pandemic, we have lost loved ones in traumatic ways. While we have each experienced unique loss in our lives, we have also shared a collective loss of security, identity, social connectedness, and normalcy. When we don’t allow ourselves to pause, feel the loss, and grieve, we run the risk of having prolonged or unresolved grief – increasing the risk of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. This presentation shared guidance on how to move through the grief process in healthy ways and provided resources in the community.

PowerPoint Presentation- Pandemic of Grief – June 15, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation – Pandemic of Grief – June 15, 2021
Online Grief Support Groups

July: "Resilience in Military and Veteran Families"
Military and veteran family life is dynamic and interrelated with its own experiences. Service members and their families face distinctive stressors in the numerous transitions they face. Even though many have the ability to manage and overcome transition difficulties, some military and veteran families may need additional support. Although military and veteran families may face more stressors, they often emerge stronger. This presentation discccused resiliency in military and veteran families.

PowerPoint Presentation- Resilience in Military and Veteran Families- July 20, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation- Resillience in Military and Veteran Families- July 20, 2021

August: "Military Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) –  A Program Overview"
This presentation offered an overview of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (SAPR) Program, including resources and support services provided to military members and dependents as well as collaboration with other programs and community resources.

PowerPoint Presentation- Military Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)- August 17, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation- Military Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)- August 17, 2021

September: "VA Suicide Prevention in 2021"
This presentation provided a status report on suicide prevention efforts by the VA over the past 14 years, as well as a glimpse of the new initiatives coming to suicide prevention in the next few years. Both local (DE) and national efforts, including new funding initiatives for local suicide prevention resources, the Veterans Compact Act of 2022. Hannon Act of 2019 and Safe Suicide Reporting, were covered.

PowerPoint Presentation- VA Suicide Prevention in 2021- September 21, 2021
Recorded Webinar Presentation- VA Suicide Prevention in 2021- September 21, 2021
Veteran Suicide Data Sheet, 2019- Delaware
Veteran Suicide Data Sheet, 2019- New Jersey
Veteran Suicide Data Sheet, 2019- Pennsylvania

October: "Ways to Help Military Veterans Heal from Moral Injuries"
This presentation defined moral injury and the role of killing in moral injury, explained how post traumatic stress and moral injury are often co-present in military veterans and shared Interfaith Veterans Workgroup non-clinical treatments for moral injury. 

Recorded Webinar Presentation- Ways to Help Military Veterans Heal from Moral Injuries- October 19, 2021
Annotated Bibliography of Books and Web Resources About Moral Injury
Treating Moral Injury in Veterans
Treating PTS and Moral Injury in Veterans

Essay on Moral Injury

December: "LET THE TRAIN CARRY YOUR BAGS- Connections between Tai Chi and Veteran Health & Wellbeing"

Military & Veterans Mental Health Summit

In 2020, the Military and Veterans Mental Health Summit was held virtually from August 31st to September 4th, 2020.

Events

Opening Remarks

A Message from the Director of the Wilmington VAMC
Vincent Kane
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A Message From the Director of the Delaware Office of Veteran Services
Dr. Larence Kirby, LPCMH
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A Message From the Vice Wing Commander at the Dover Air Force Base
Col. Shanon Anderson
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A Message From the Lieutenant Governor
Bethany Hall-Long
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Keynote Address: “Veterans Perceptions of Behavioral Health Services”

August 31st, 2020
Keynote Address: “Veterans Perceptions of Behavioral Health Services”
Dr. Larence Kirby, LPCMH
Director, Delaware Office of Veterans Services

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Dissertation
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Presentation: “Virtual Resources and Telehealth”

September 1st, 2020
“Virtual Resources and Telehealth”
Michael Selby, MSN, RN

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Presentation: "Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and the Crisis Hotline”

September 2nd, 2020
“Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and the Crisis Hotline”
Nancy McGee & Lauren Unrath, LCSW

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Presentation: “Personal Self-Care”

September 3rd, 2020
“Personal Self-Care”
Susana Cebula, MS, CTRS

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Presentation: “Cognitive Approach to Resiliency”

September 4th, 2020
“Cognitive Approach to Resiliency”
Dr. Craig W. Gilbert, LPCMH

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Presenters

Dr. Larence Kirby, LPCMH

Doctor Larence Kirby is the Executive Director for the Delaware Office of Veterans Services.  He advises a state-wide agency, legislative officials, and service agencies on issues impacting 72,000 Delaware veterans.  He oversees two state veterans’ cemeteries and counsels veterans and families, on disability compensation, burial benefits, education programs, employment opportunities, and behavioral health issues.  Doctor Kirby retired from active duty as a Command Chief Master Sergeant.  He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for actions in Afghanistan and selflessly identified hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan casualties, through dental xrays, at Dover’s Air Force Port Mortuary.  He has a PhD in Human Services, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice, and is Board President for the Mental Health Association in Delaware.

Michael Selby, MSN, RN

Michael has been the Facility Telehealth Coordinator/Connected Care Nurse Manager for the Wilmington VA since March 2016.  He started his VA career within Telehealth, as an RN Care Coordinator for Home Telehealth at the Coatesville VAMC in 2010.  Mr. Selby been pivotal to the introduction of monitoring for Mental Health diagnosis for Home Telehealth at both respective locations.  He co-authored the disease management protocol being used to monitor for Bipolar Disorder to date.  He has been an RN for the past 15 years, with a focus on Mental Health most of that time.  Prior to his VA career, he was a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse and was certified via ANNC from 2007 to 2012.  Mr. Selby worked for the Department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health for the State of New Jersey since 1999 and continues to provide per diem work to date.  During his tenure as Connected Care Manager for the Wilmington VAMC, he has prided himself with increasing and expanding the modalities.  These efforts support expansion of the Medical Center’s access to its Veteran population for both clinical and non-clinical resources via intra and inter-facility encounters; as well as non-VA sites.

Nancy McGee

Nancy McGee came to Delaware in 1984 after beginning her career living in a tee-pee while working in wilderness camps and experiential education programs on the East Coast.  She has been working in the human services field ever since.  She has a strong background in family systems, individuals with co-occurring disorders, complex sexual trauma survivors and system collaborations.  She currently serves as the coordinator for the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware (SAND) at ContactLifeline and sits on the Trauma Matters Delaware Board.

Lauren Unrath, LCSW

Lauren graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Psychology and earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  She worked at a non-profit organization in Philadelphia for 10 years before moving on to the Sussex Vet Center as a Readjustment Counselor (Therapist) in 2016 supporting combat Veterans and their families.  Currently, she is the Director of Psychological Health for the Delaware Army National Guard.  Lauren lives in Middletown, DE with her husband and daughter.

Susana Cebula, MS, CTRS

Susana Cebula graduated from Wilmington University with a Master of Science in Management: Healthcare Administration.  She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies: Therapeutic Recreation from Virginia Wesleyan College.  She has been a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist 9+ years with clinical experience in long term care, in-patient acute behavioral health hospitals, out-patient behavioral health settings including chemical and substance abuse, and adult day services.  Currently, Susana provides recreation therapy services at Wilmington VAMC where she is also a member of several committees such as Whole Health and Patient Experience.  Susana was awarded the January 2020 Clinical Employee of the Month from the Wilmington VAMC.

Dr. Craig Gilbert, LPCMH

Dr. Gilbert serves as the Dover Air Force Base Violence Prevention Integrator responsible for the primary prevention of self-directed and interpersonal violence.  He is a retired Air Force Security Forces member with over 38 years active duty and civilian military experience.  He has also worked as a program director for an adolescent substance abuse treatment center.  He has been teaching resilience for the Air Force since 2010 and conducted his doctoral dissertation research on the relationship between resilience and PTSD in the Active Duty Air Force.  Dr. Gilbert is a Delaware Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health and holds a Master’s of Science degree in Community Counseling from Wilmington University and a Doctorate of Education in Pastoral Community Counseling from Argosy University.  He has also received extensive training in the treatment and prevention of suicide and interpersonal violence.

Additional Resources