The holistic care of LGBTQ+ veterans is the focus of the fifth annual Milwaukee VA Mental Health Summit, hosted by the Milwaukee VA Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, on June 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held in the UWM Student Union, 2200 E. Kenwood Blvd. in Milwaukee.
The Holistic Care of LGBTQ+ Veterans features a diverse array of workshops, breakout sessions, panelists and practitioners with experience serving the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ veteran community.
“From lingering, negative effects of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ to the medical needs of our trans veterans, there are many factors that can complicate healing and recovery for veterans who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum,” said Jayne Holland, director of the Military and Veterans Resource Center at UWM. “This conference will bring a variety of support resources for them under one roof. There’s also the healing benefit of welcoming people just to talk, to brainstorm and to know that they’re not alone.”
“This year’s focus on mental health services for LGBT+ veterans acknowledges that, for decades, many of these veterans didn’t feel welcome or understood,” said Dr. Michael McBride, a staff psychiatrist at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. “There is a diverse care network out there for them, and the summit program will reflect this. Traditional VA care, suicide prevention, family care services, addiction treatment and alternative therapies like yoga and outdoor recreation are just a few of the topics we’ll address.”
The event’s keynote speaker will be Christine Black, director of Military & Veteran Services at Marywood University in Pennsylvania. Black was deployed three times as a member of the U.S. Army and she will speak on her experiences at the summit.
The Holistic Care of LGBTQ+ Veterans is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged for those staying for lunch or in need of special accommodations. For more information, visit mkevamentalhealthsummitlgbtqvets.eventbrite.com.