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DHS News Newsletter May 2009  

DHS hosts two day conference for returning services men and women

May 2009

The DHS Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and Allegheny County Veterans’ Services hosted a two-day event to address the needs of military veterans and their families on May 22-23, at the John Jay Center at Robert Morris University in Moon Township.

Support for Returning Veterans, on May 22, was a conference intended for care providers, social workers, medical professionals, clergy and others who have contact with returning veterans, their spouses and children. Participants gained a greater understanding of the challenges faced by service men and women when they return to their families and communities. Continuing education credits were available to professionals who participated.

“As more troops return home after tours of duty, it’s important to provide tools and resources to help them reintegrate into civilian life,” said Onorato. “Our goal is developing a network that veterans and their families can easily access for information and help with health care, educational opportunities, job training, and social services.”

A Retreat Day for the Veteran & the Family, on May 23, offered veterans and their families information on deployment, transition, and assistance with reintegration. Children were treated to a temporary tattoos and photos with the Pirate Parrot. The keynote session featured Dr. Bruce Rabin walking attendees through a group relaxation exercise.

“The conference and the retreat are both avenues for our returning veterans and their families to learn about the services that the Department of Human Services and its providers and agencies can offer to them,” said DHS Director Marc Cherna. “We want their families to understand, as well, that there is assistance for them, not only through DHS, but through our partners throughout the County.”

“Regardless of where or when they served, many of our veterans who served with honor and distinction have found the transition to civilian life to be a difficult one,” said Allegheny County Veterans Services Executive Assistant Michael Murphy. “It is imperative that we find ways to repay our debt to their service and assist them with this transition, and that is what these events aim to do.”

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