*This presentation is no longer eligible for the 1 CE credit*
Currently there are approximately 18.5 million military veterans in the United States. Only 9 million seek services through Veteran Health Administration. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a significant problem among military veterans and are associated with numerous harmful effects including physical and mental health. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately eleven percent (11 percent) of military veterans screened meet DSM 5 criteria for SUDS with more than 70 percent of those same veterans meeting criteria for co-occurring mental and physical health diagnosis such as PTSD and chronic pain. Despite numerous attempts by the VA and other agencies over the past two decades to reduce problematic substance use, rates of SUDs in veterans continue to rise with many veterans preferring to access services in their community over accessing VA services. For this reason it is important for treatment providers outside of the VA to understand and engage the military veteran as member of an important subculture in order to provide effective treatment in a culturally competent manner. Gaining understanding of the values and group identity veterans acquire while serving can assist the treatment provider in gaining improved context, more effective client engagement, and stronger therapeutic alliance for successful clinical outcomes in residential treatment and after care planning.
Carla Felts, MSW, LSW, CCM
Carla earned a Master of Social Work in Clinical Mental Health, Military Social Work from University of Southern California and her Bachelors of Social Work from Colorado State University. She is credentialed in the state of Colorado as a Licensed Social Worker and has worked with individuals, couples and families impacted by substance abuse and addiction since 1997. Before coming to Harmony, Carla worked in private practice treating touring professionals in the music industry struggling with mental health and addiction. Carla also worked with child youth and families impacted by addiction in the Colorado child welfare system and practiced as a trauma and mental health therapist for combat veterans with co-occurring substance use disorders in the Veteran Administration. Carla is a combat veteran (US ARMY) who served in the Persian Gulf War.