On Memorial Day we remember our fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country. As nurses, what can we do to care for veterans who need ongoing physical, emotional and spiritual care today?
Over a million veterans seek mental healthcare through the Veterans Administration (VHA) every year. Many voice challenges to their spiritual beliefs, especially after deployment. Research supports that integrating spiritual care into mental health interventions improves the ability of veterans to cope.
Mental health practitioners are key to incorporating spirituality into the mental healthcare of veterans, as well as collaborating with VHA chaplains. They are in prime positions to address spiritual needs, such as the need for hope, love and belonging, forgiveness, life purpose and meaning.
“Through spiritual care, mental health practitioners have the opportunity to remind veterans of the omnipotent God, who is the protector and rescuer,” writes Stephanie T. Wynn in her article, “After the Trenches: Spiritual Care of Veterans,” from Journal of Christian Nursing, Oct-Dec 2015.
“During the battle, God is always with us. God wants to be our liberator, whether we are in or out of the trenches,” Stephanie adds. “And he wants to use healthcare providers to spiritually assist those caught in the trenches to rediscover meaning and purpose in life.”
As we remember those in the military who have died, let us care holistically for those who are living.
This article in Journal of Christian Nursing was recently honored with a GOLD Award for Best Opening Page or Spread: Photo, presented by the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE).