CSC’s Moral Injury Group, which provides planning and support for Veterans experiencing moral injury, recently supported the launch of a new program designed by the VA that bridges mental health and chaplain services to help Veterans receive healing from past trauma. Read the following story by Nathan Schaeffer, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Story and photos by Nathan Schaeffer, Public Affairs Specialist
The Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) began a new Moral Injury & Reconciliation Group in August for Veterans suffering with moral injury.
Four Veterans participated in the first 12-week program, which consists of 90-minute, weekly sessions led by VA Chaplains. The first group concluded on October 25 with a ceremony in the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center Chapel.
Moral injury is defined as when a Veteran “perpetrates, bears witness, fails to prevent or comes into awareness of acts that violate core values and beliefs.”
“Moral Injury is a violation of that which is right to you,” said Carter Check, VA Chaplain and Moral Injury & Reconciliation Group Coordinator. “It is a breaking of deeply held moral and ethical beliefs. This deeply held belief, if left unchecked, can affect your life in so many different ways – physically, spiritually or emotionally.”
The Moral Injury & Reconciliation Group is an interdisciplinary approach between Mental Health and Chaplain Services and helps Veterans see a ‘new normal’ as they process different types of trauma they have experienced.
Marine Corps Veteran Louis Bono said he was skeptical the group could help him.
“I learned about relationships and about what I needed to work on – spiritual aspects that I was missing,” said Bono. “I have taken classes for drug and alcohol and participated in (Posttraumatic stress disorder) groups, but without this group, it didn’t make a full circle in my life. I don’t know what I would do without (this group).”
Army Veteran Tamrah Briggs said the group helped her understand how trauma has impacted her life.
“When I came into this course, I didn’t know myself,” said Briggs. “For the first time ever, everything made sense to me. My life is still monopolized by fear, but I’m working on that. I am so grateful to the VA. This course has been a blessing. I’m excited about my future.”
Group sessions are held at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Tulsa VA Behavioral Medicine Clinic and through Tele-mental Health.
Veterans interested in the program can contact Chaplain Carter Check at 918-577-3809 or Steffanie Ward, Chief, Social Work, at 918-577-3310.