Video from an October broadcast on Wright State’s Military Friendly Silver Award

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Wright State University has launched a new training program to assist veteran and military-connected students in its Veteran and Military Center (VMC).

Participants are exposed to student-led training on military culture through “Green Zone” training that focuses on mental health issues common among those in the military, suicide prevention and mental health first aid.

“The program, inspired by the university’s Mental Health Task Force, incorporates VMC-sponsored trainings with other offices and services to ensure that those seeking to work with veterans have at least 15 hours of training in four areas,” said Seth Gordon, director of VMC.

This training was offered before the pandemic but was a much simpler approach to the basics of military culture, student benefits, tips about working with military students in the classrooms.

The goal of the student champion program is to teach others to work with students who may be veterans, military-connected, spouses of dependents, or in the National Guard, Reserves or in the military full-time.

Expanded training aims to promote the sharing of responsibilities for serving student veterans and military-connected students.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the VMC hosted a Green Zone Training program with Bill Wall, a retired military mental health professional, focusing on the Five-P model: pain management, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), partnership issues, post-blast injury and polysubstance abuse.

A deployed soldier may often carry up to 80 pounds of equipment on a daily basis or experience the safety hazards of being around heavy equipment and machinery.

After being discharged, the service member may develop structural skeletal issues that require a pain-reduction regimen, which, coupled with other issues such as PTSD or traumatic brain injury, can lead to substance issues.

Modern veterans when leaving the service often face one or all of these, according to Gordon.

“The primary hope from the VMC is to provide support so that the veterans feel like they belong at Wright State, to support their academic and professional success. And to expand the insight into how best to work with them. The more training we can provide, the better,” said Gordon. “Second, we’re always thinking about suicide prevention. It’s always just below the surface of everything we do. Third, we hope to provide a foundation and an example of how to build group-specific trainings.”

Wright State’s VMC says they hope to develop more training programs like these, to help all students feel that they are understood and belong.

About 700 student veterans and military-connected students are enrolled at Wright State.