The new training program, 4 Points Builds a STAR, was developed and written by Melinda Meshad, LCSW. The training is designed for people who work with veterans whether through the VA or other veteran service organizations. Collaborating with her, in addition to NVF Founder Shad Meshad, was Dr. Charles R. Figley, current Paul Henry Kurzweg, MD Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health, and Graduate School of Social Work Professor at Tulane University. Formerly, he was the Traumatology Institute Director at Florida State University. Both Melinda and Shad ledthe two-day trauma-informed training which took place in late October.
“Therapists, counselors, caregivers, and all those providing personal support can be more effective when they understand how trauma impacts us and how relationships are a primary factor in the healing process. To be a part of the solution, we need to understand how to engage survivors of trauma,” Melinda Meshad explains.
4 Points Builds a STAR, a two-day trauma-informed training program provides practical engagement skills for those who serve the veteran population. It includes a thorough overview of trauma and its impact, with evidence-based and trauma-informed engagement strategies that promote the well-being needed for positive veteran reintegration.
“Trauma disrupts healthy body and brain function, contributes to mental health problems, and can lead to destructive ways of coping,” Melinda says. “Reintegration back into civilian society can be difficult. Without support and specific tools to make the transition smoother, life can spiral out of control.” The program teaches ways to recover and build the resiliency needed to succeed in civilian life.
Call it synchronicity. Dr. Jonathan Sherin and James Zenner from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health expressed interest in Meshad’s program after Melinda and Zenner met at an event. The two organizations are now partnering closely, planning to offer the training to VA facilities in LA.
At our Strategy Summit last March, one of the opportunities that rose in brainstorming was “taking our show on the road,” sharing what we’ve learned about helping veterans cope with reintegration, PTSD, TBI and a host of other issues. Our goal is to connect with other veteran service organizations to reach more veterans. At the time, Melinda was just finishing up two years of writing and research on her program. The timing was perfect.
The Meshads will be offering the program under the aegis of the NVF. Since the announcement of our first training event, the NVF has been contacted by other VA facilities across the nation. NVF Board Chairman John Ruffin says, “This training needn’t be restricted to veteran service organizations. Human Resource Departments in corporations who hire veterans could also benefit. It’s a win-win situation for all.”