Bartenders may have the better chance at connecting veterans to mental health sources
Researchers from Ohio State University conclude that bartenders are the unused resources that can aide in recognizing veterans who could be enduring mental health disorders like post traumatic stress. Most of the time bartenders are seen as a confident and may have the better opportunity bringing together veterans and mental health agencies that could give them help.
Researchers studied responses from surveys of 71 bartenders employed at 32 different VFW posts in Ohio.
Almost 70% of the surveys stated that their veteran patrons share personnel problems with them. Eighty percent of the bartenders in the survey would be willing to refer veterans to services at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Overall a large percentage of veterans who have served in wars that occurred before Iraq and Afghanistan often visit VFW’s. However, many posts do expect to see more recent veterans since more soldiers are returning from war.
Dr. Keith Anderson, assistant professor of social work at the university and lead researcher of this study had stated that in general veterans are more unwilling to look for help with their mental health. Dr. Anderson believes” that we need to go to where the veterans are located.”
The findings from this survey has incited the researchers to plan a pilot program within ten of the VFW’s in Columbus to aide bartenders in identifying symptoms of mental health disorders.
Spokesperson Joe Davis for the national VFW organization has stated they have no plan to start mental health training for bartenders at VFW’s. He states that they are supportive of any efforts to get veterans the care which they earned and deserve. However, having bartenders serving as mental health professionals may become a liability for the organization.
Dr. Anderson states that bartenders would not be expected to become mental health counselors or licensed psychologists. They would just learn how to identify the basic symptoms of common disorders. He continues to note that they do not wish to taint the bartender’s relationship in any way and they would serve more as friends and confidants.
They are hoping that bartenders could act as gatekeepers to the larger veteran health systems.
In closing Dr. Anderson remarks that aiding a veteran to take action is the next step of a relationship that many veterans currently have established already with their VFW bartenders. That this is a new way at looking at communities taking care of one another and due to budget cuts in some areas of health services that we ‘need to start helping each other”.
Veteran Services in Detroit:
John D. Dingell VA Medical Center
4646 John R Street
Waterman Adult Outpatient Center