Last Veterans Day, the VA New York/New Jersey Healthcare Network launched Family of Heroes, an interactive online training simulation where families of the region’s 800,000 veterans learn critical skills to manage challenges faced by families adjusting to post-deployment life – including how to identify PTSD and suicidal intent and how to motivate the veteran to seek help at the VA.
The Family of Heroes 1-hour training is freely available to veterans’ families in the greater metropolitan New York area and New Jersey and is accessed from any internet-connected computer at www.familyofheroes.com. VA Hudson Valley Health Care System is excited to be partnering with over 30 veteran organizations in the region to reach out to families of veterans and inform them about the training and how to access it.
“The Family of Heroes training utilizes an innovative web-based educational gaming technology to reach and engage families on a large scale and provide them with tools to identify when their veteran needs help and how to connect them with the VA health care,” at VA Hudson Valley.
By engaging in three practice conversations with three emotionally responsive veteran avatars, including a husband with PTSD and TBI, a wife with depression and a son experiencing thoughts of suicide, family members learn to de-escalate arguments, resolve disputes and, if necessary, direct their veteran to seek help at the VA.
The training is a result of collaboration between the area VA Healthcare Network and Kognito Interactive, an award-winning developer of online role-playing simulations. Family of Heroes was developed utilizing feedback from over 100 veterans’ families around the country and VA psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other VA clinicians and experts in PTSD and mental health issues associated with post-combat adjustment).
To view a short demonstration of the training and learn more about this project, go to: https://visn3.kognito.com/ptsd/ A one-year VA study is under way to further evaluate the training simulation.
For Veterans seeking information about VA Care:
VA Hudson Valley Health Care System offers Veterans primary and specialty care, women’s health, long term care, mental health/residential care to include PTSD, substance abuse and treatment for homeless veterans. VA Hudson Valley services are available at the two main campuses in Montrose and Castle Point and the six Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Carmel, Goshen, Monticello, New City, Pine Plains, Port Jervis and Poughkeepsie.
Any Veteran seeking eligibility information about VA care, please call 914-737-4400, Ext. 2306 or 845-831-2000, Ext. 5100 for more information.