Got Your 6 program teaches veteran cultural competency

November 15, 2016 By eastern247
Soldiers and the number six

Veterans Resource Center (VRC) Director Dave Millet and psychology Senior Lecturer Alan Basham presented the Got Your 6 program Wednesday, Nov. 9, guiding faculty and staff toward veteran cultural competency.

“Everyone who comes in contact with our veterans are either going to make it difficult for them to come home and heal or you’re going to help. You will not be neutral in how you interact with them,” Basham said. “We need to learn what they need and how to help them achieve in our community – what they need is paramount.”

The Got Your 6 program is an educational program designed to give faculty and staff a better understanding of military culture, veterans transition challenges and Veterans Administration educational benefits in order to create a supportive campus for our service members, veterans and their families.

More than 40 EWU faculty and staff members attended the program in which Millet and Basham gave an overview of the military culture and the challenges many veterans face when returning home, such as post-traumatic stress.

Basham described post-traumatic stress as the fight or flight button stuck on, even if the threat isn’t there. Stress many veterans face causes the fight or flight response to become the normative psychological state.

“It’s active, it’s intensive and it’s real,” Basham said.

Results of PTS include hypervigilance, an enhanced startle effect, high blood pressure, emotional dissociation, social isolation and depression, among other effects.

Millet and Basham offered advice on creating a supportive environment for veterans, including listening to a veteran’s story, attending a military event or reading more about the military for understanding. Other ways to support veterans include:

  • Recognizing the significance of their experience and membership in the military culture;
  • Being supportive and willing to hear, but avoiding questions about a veteran’s experience until trust is established;
  • While not compromising course content, being mindful about, sensitive to, and aware of how material is presented in class;
  • Referring veterans to helpful resources on- and off-campus as needed.

The VRC staff can tailor the session to meet the needs of your department, as well as time restraints. For more information on the Got Your 6 program, contact Dave Millet at 509.359.2461, dmillet@ewu.edu