VA Northern Indiana Health Care System hosts mental health summit

PTSD, opioid use, suicide prevention and family issues during deployment were a few of the topics discussed.

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 6:11 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 7:14 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)-The goal of the 6th annual VA-Community Mental Health Summit is to create a safe place for veterans to connect with each other, caregivers and find community resources.

"To figure out how to make it easier for people to get help, to decrease the stigma and make sure people understand the wide variety of services that can be provided,"said Chief of Mental Health Services Helen Rhodes, VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.

Jim Hensel is a veteran who says he has dealt with mental health issues himself, and that it's important for others to speak up about their problems.

"If you feel depressed or suicidal and you don't feel like you have a place to turn to, there are resources out there."

PTSD, opioid use, suicide prevention and family issues during deployment were a few of the topics discussed.

"The more awareness we can bring, the more understanding we can bring, the more help we can provide to veterans as well as other people in the community, " said Rhodes.

Hensel is also an ER nurse. He says the mental health summit will also help him give advice to and treat his patients.

"With my career it'll help other veterans find resources they need in multiple different ways "

Rhodes says Telehealth is a new way to connect with veterans who need mental health services.

"A individual wouldn't even have to leave their home in order to receive help. "

And it's something Hensel says he's excited to try.

"I've been dealing with things myself but now i'll be able to maybe set up an appointment and have something more comfortable at home rather than have to drive to the campus in Fort Wayne or Marion, " said Hensel.

After this year's summit, Rhodes hopes to apply the questions and concerns from participants so that new or more resources can be utilized.

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