The God Factor : Exploring The Roles

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The God Factor: Exploring the Roles VHA Chaplains Bear in Providing Human (Spiritual) Services
Bob G. Stover
Southern Adventist University

The God Factor: Exploring the Roles VHA Chaplains Bear in Providing Human (Spiritual) Services
Within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), chaplains play many different roles. Chaplains are not only counselors who contend with the spiritual and religious needs of veterans and their families, they also aid with the emotional, mental, physical, and relational needs of veterans. Recognizing the aid and guidance chaplains give veterans is important in realizing the special utility they serve. In realizing the benefit to veterans and their families, the VA is integrating chaplains into mental health
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For many, this will entail more effectively integrating chaplaincy with mental health care services, an objective that is consistent with the mission of VA (Nieuwsma, & Rhodes 2013). Furthermore, it has been shown that chaplains can, if given the opportunity, play an integral role in the mitigating of mental health issues, and in the caring of veterans seeking help and services for emotional, relational, and mental health-related problems (Nieuwsma, & Rhodes p. 15 2013).
Suicide—a chaplains role. Nowhere are the services of chaplains needed more than in helping those veterans at-risk for suicide. The VA recognizes the important role of chaplains as front-line, mental-health providers for active-duty personnel and veterans, including the chaplain’s role in suicide prevention (Ramchand, Acosta, Burns, Jaycox, & Pernin, 2011). Recently, attention has been paid to the prevailing suicide rate of veterans. In order to combat these rates, the VA and public health professionals have dedicated considerable time and effort to designing and implementing suicide prevention initiatives targeting Veteran populations (Kopacz 2013).
The role that chaplains can play in helping veterans deal with suicidal ideations are immeasurable. Veterans can have a host of problems in relation to their military service that they don’t have the tools to deal with; guilt, hopelessness, shame, despair, and grief to name but a few. A chaplains
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