September 2014


Meeting: October 28, 2014 Time: 10:30 – Noon Room: 728

Minutes for September meeting and AGENDA

August meeting minutes accepted.

Derek A. (Public Affairs Office) will help us develop our plan to create a message that will help reduce/minimize the negative effects of stigma on Veterans with mental health issues. He will check to see if the VA has any posters that address this problem. Kirk L. explained the reluctance of some Vets to be identified as mental health patients. Paul J. was part of a VISN 11 meeting and the stigma problem was discussed. Felicia W. told us about the difficulties she had during a group therapy session when male Veterans made her feel uncomfortable; this was an important reason for her starting a V2V for Women group because other female Veterans have had this negative experience. Renaming the Mental Health Clinic was suggested; Billie W. said “Comfort Station” would be a better label. Mark L. is impressed by the work the Friars Club does to honor Veterans and read us quote from their report that expresses the need to emphasize the positive, productive contributions Veterans give to their communities. This approach promotes the value of the good work done by Veterans and discarding the sigma issue; Veterans with mental health problems need to seek help – it’s okay – and Veterans need to be celebrated for what they have done and what they are doing for our society. Our visitor, Dr. Henry Buchtel (Chief, Neuropsychology Section) said much of the negative stigma towards Veterans is caused by media reports about Veterans doing something wrong and the lack of reports about Veterans doing something right. He thinks diversifying the services on the 7th floor (MHC) would be an important factor in countering stigma: hygiene classes, massage therapy, and other treatments that do not have the mental health label problem; also, perhaps it would be helpful to have a name like “Behavioral Health Clinic” or some other holistic approach label. Renaming the MHC was discussed at the VISN 11 meeting and at the Mental Health Summit. Derek said he will discuss our recommendation to change the name with the MHC Leadership. We are at the beginning of our process to create a way to develop a message that will help reduce/minimize stigma. Council members will look for positive examples of Veterans doing well.

Derek A. introduced Isaac Grove (Public Affairs Specialist), Marine, combat Veteran, and Wayne State graduate. Isaac is at VAAAHS on a two-year training program. Derek gave us a report on the first Veterans Town Hall meeting in Ann Arbor. It was successful with statements that addressed both negative and positive aspects of care given to Veterans. Follow-up action on problems issues is ongoing to make sure Veterans receive the care they need. Since 2009, VAAAHS has had a 25% increase in Veterans receiving care; 65,000 Vets are expected to receive care for this year and this is challenging the Indianapolis VA for the lead in VISN 11. Issues discovered during the recent inspections have been addressed. A “Choice Card” will be issued to Veterans who qualify for non-VA care.

Linda H. is training 7 new Planetree Facilitators. The Annual Planetree Conference will be in October and four VAAAHS staff members will attend. Linda and Jean Revoir will present posters for the Relaxation Cart and Delay the Disease Programs.

Kirk L. said the V VET – Veterans Vocational Education & Training Program has been approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Equipment, software, and supplies are being donated from major companies such as Nikon, B&H Photo, Adobe, Apple Computer, and Kline Tools. The plan is to start Mastering Digital Photography training in October; and, a February start date for Carpenter training and Plumber training. V VET will provide free vocational training to US Veterans.

Billie W. announced that THE COUNTRY STORE will be open in the auditorium on October 21, 8am to 5pm. This is a like a well-organized flea market with good prices and good stuff.

Updated flyers for the GI Clinic Vet-to- Vet Support Group were handed out – please share this with other Vets so participation will be increased.


Guest Speaker: A member of the leadership team.

Guest Speaker: Henry Buchtel, Ph.D. (Chief, Neuropsychology Section)

  1. Preliminary activities: Sign-in Sheet, Minutes acceptance, New Members.
  2. Linda H.
  3. Paul J.
  4. Veterans Choice Program and Project ARCH — Kirk L. & Mark L.
  5. November 11th Veterans Day.
  6. Stigma.
  7. Vet-to-Vet.
  8. Other Thoughts, Topics, Comments, Suggestions.


Please mark your calendar – Our next Council meeting will be November 25, Tuesday, 10:30 – Noon in Room 728.



Terry Keck, Gary Bourdeau, Don Behm, Ed Roberts, Joe Riedy, Ryan Christman, Paul Jingozian, Maurice Warren, Alex Beach, Lori Young, Erik Cuolahan, Felicia West, Mark Lyubkin, Kirk Lanam, Vincent Warren, Brian Rounsifer, Greg Poulos, John Branstetter, Mark Lindke, Ray Pasquantonio, Linda Harrison, Billie Whittaker, Asuki ONeill, Derek Atkinson, Beau Nelson, Lloyd Suter, Bruce Schultz, Larry Blanchard, Bob Board, Jon Luker, Rick Donley, Daniel Gerhardi, Rudy Beegen