The Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council and the Veteran Friendly Congregation Initiative are hosting a forum for local clergy from all faiths to learn about the needs of area veterans and the services that are available to them.
The forum, titled When War Comes Home, is open to faith leaders from Knox and surrounding counties. It will be held Thursday, May 1, at the L.T. Ross Building on Western Avenue from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“In Knox County, we do a good job of serving our veterans, but there’s always more that can be done,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett during a news conference announcing the forum. “Right now, there are heroes in churches, synagogues and mosques across the country who have just returned from war. In Knox County, these congregations have an opportunity to say, ‘What else can we do for these heroes?’”
“Many of our veterans coming home today have invisible wounds, such as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), anxiety and depression, all of which are tough to diagnose,” said Vietnam veteran and forum organizer Freddie Owens. “Veterans are five times more likely to speak to their pastors about their own mental health issues than they are to seek help from the Veterans Administration, and this forum will help area religious leaders address those issues.”
Religious leaders wishing to participate in the When War Comes Home forum can register for the event at http://www.tnvhc.org.