Virginia’s Wounded Warrior Program has launched an online pilot project to teach families of veterans how to help their loved ones adjust to civilian life. The “Family of Heroes” interactive simulation will also help relatives recognize and respond to post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges.
The resiliency training was prepared in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health. The initial project targets the families of 280,000 veterans in the state’s northwest region. But the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program’s Executive Director, Catherine Wilson, says plans are to expand it if the results are beneficial.
“The program actually allows the family member to choose an avatar or a character and to engage in practice conversations with a family member who is a combat veteran, for example, that maybe experienced post-traumatic stress or some kind of post-deployment stress. And they give various different situations where the family member can learn to communicate with the military member that is just coming off of deployment. So it’s sort of a real-time, interactive conversation that without really being aware, it’s teaching new skills on how to communicate,” said Wilson.
The simulation also teaches signs and symptoms, how to motivate the veteran to seek help, and where to go for assistance. The free online training can be accessed at: familyofheroes.com.
–Anne Marie Morgan