University Hall Clinic to provide counseling for military families

April 8, 2010

Indiana State University's University Hall Clinic has expanded its counseling services to assist military servicemen and women along with their families.

"This is a way we can give back," said Debra Leggett, assistant professor of counseling. "Just from this area, 3,000 National Guard members have deployed. Think about the impact of that many - there's a great need of services."

The counseling would be available for a child grieving a mother or father who has been deployed or for the family adjusting to the return of the soldier from overseas.

Bob Rummell, Indiana community support coordinator with Army OneSource, contacted Leggett in her role as president of the Indiana Counseling Association seeking counselors to participate in online training to help military personnel and their families.

More than 1.6 million people have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, he said. Almost half of those service members are married and/or have dependent children.

"Army OneSource has launched a formal campaign to encourage civilian health and behavioral health providers to complete an online course titled ‘Treating the Invisible Wounds of War'," Rummell said. "In today's unique combat situation - where there is no front line and constant vigilance must be maintained on the ground, where individuals are serving as many as four deployments that are longer in duration than in the past, and where service members and families are asked to give more because of our all-voluntary military - we're learning that, ‘The wounds of war are not limited to the battlefield.'"

The online course helps everyone from physicians to mental health providers develop a better understanding of military life.

When Rummell told her about the training and the need for counselors, Leggett quickly realized that Indiana State's clinic could help the soldiers and their families.

"We're thrilled and happy to be a part of their behavioral health initiative," she said.

University Hall Clinic contains the Rowe Center for Communicative Disorders, the Porter School Psychology Center and the Counseling Center. With the centers working together, Leggett said they can collaborate to help children with speech or hearing issues or to help a child who may be struggling in school, as well as provide counseling for military families.

"We'll do an initial intake assessment to see what the needs are for the individual and family services," Leggett said. "Then we'll evaluate and make recommendations."

While the center will be assisting service personnel and their families, Indiana State students benefit as well. Students provide the services under the supervision of licensed faculty.

"They gain an area of experience in an area that wasn't offered before," Leggett said.

That experience will be necessary for students after they graduate and move into counseling positions.

"With 1.6 million serving in Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, this is an issue that counselors will be facing across the nation," Leggett said. "I'm very proud that Indiana State can be a part of this initiative and meet these needs."

To schedule an appointment, call University Hall Clinic at 812-237-2800.

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Contact: Debra Leggett, Indiana State University, assistant professor of counseling, at 812-237-7762 or Debra.Leggett@indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or Jennifer.Sicking@indstate.edu