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In this Issue
Other Social Work News
Study Shows War Deployment a Questionable Factor in Military Suicides
The Los Angeles Times reports that the most recent Pentagon data show a slight majority (52%) of troops who have committed suicide while on active duty were never assigned to Afghanistan or Iraq.

Flight Training Program for People With Physical Disabilities
According to USA Today, a university-affiliated nonprofit program is equipping some people with physical disabilities with flight certification for roles in the aviation industry.

New Report Says Fewer U.S. Adults Are Smoking Cigarettes
The Huffington Post reports that a new national health survey shows a drop in the adult smoking rate to 18%.

Museums Becoming Friendlier Places for Children With Autism
According to NPR, more museums are making accommodations for children with special needs, such as autism.
Editor's E-Note
Working with veterans, active military service members, and their families is multifaceted, but one of the most daunting challenges may be helping combat veterans cope with survivor guilt. Military members who have lost close friends and fellow soldiers in battle face a complex range of emotions that can sometimes be buried, either intentionally or inadvertently, with the their lost comrades. This month’s E-News Exclusive from a hospice social worker relays the story of one veteran who began to uncover those feelings at the end of life.

Not all soldiers will conceal survivor guilt that long, but many will at least store those confusing feels in what the writer calls “the vault,” that place many of us put the feelings we’re not sure what to do with. The author’s best advice to other social workers: “Don’t be in a hurry” (to pry open the vault), but be ready and open to listening with compassion and without judgment to the memories of soldiers who survived battle but lost friends and fellow service members. They may be left with a lot of questions about the arbitrary nature of death, especially in the context of war.

We welcome your comments at SWTeditor@gvpub.com. Visit our website at www.SocialWorkToday.com, join our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
E-News Exclusive
Locked in the Vault — Survivor Guilt in Combat Veterans
By J. Scott Janssen, MSW, LCSW

Chris thought she’d heard all her father Joe’s stories about World War II. She knew everything from the fear he felt landing on the beaches of Normandy to his joy when the war finally ended and he was still in one piece. But it turns out she really hadn’t heard them all.

As Joe’s kidney failure progressed, he began to recall memories he hadn’t shared. When, as his hospice social worker, I arrived one day for a visit, I could see something was on his mind. He lacked his typical friendliness and eagerness to engage. He seemed sad, possibly depressed, but said he was just feeling “off.” I asked if he could help me understand what he meant, and he said he was feeling “a kind of heaviness I can’t really explain.”

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Tech & Tools
A Robot Proxy in the Classroom
A small but growing number of chronically ill students now attend school virtually with what are called “remote presence robots.” Learn more »
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July/August 2013

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