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Editor's e-Note
When military service members return to civilian life, the adjustment can sometimes be difficult, especially if the service member has experienced traumatic events. An assistant professor of social work at Saint Louis University has led a study and found that engaging veterans in community service in their hometown is one option to assist in that transition. Read about the study in our E-News Exclusive.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Volunteering Eases Veterans' Transition to Civilian Life

Veterans could better transition to civilian life by volunteering with civic service programs in their communities, Saint Louis University (SLU) research suggests. “When veterans complete their military service, they go through a transition like all of us, when we change jobs, move to a new town, or retire,” says Monica Matthieu, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of social work at SLU. “It is a transition that takes focus, deep reflection, and new information to discover the next challenge they will pursue along their journey in life.

“This study tells us that formal volunteering in a civic service program that engages veterans in community service in their hometown is one option to aid in that transition. Some may call this a gap year; I call it a fulfillment year,” Matthieu says.

The research is the first peer-reviewed and published national study of civic service among U.S. military veterans. It examines how volunteering affected the health and social life of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, then participated in a formal civic service program.

Civic service has accountability requirements, clearly defined goals, and a stipend, making it more like a job than less-structured forms of volunteering, such as helping out with child care or setting up for a church function.

Researchers evaluated the impact of The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit that deploys veterans on six-month volunteer service missions with community agencies. Eric Greitens, PhD, who stepped down as CEO in 2014 and now is Missouri’s governor, founded the organization in St. Louis in 2007. Researchers studied 346 veterans who completed the program in 2011–2014, volunteering 20 hours a week on specific projects for six months. Before deployment on civic service missions, more than 50% said they had symptoms of PTSD and nearly one-fifth reported symptoms of depression. Nearly one-half had reported receiving treatment for a mental health condition.

Full Story »
Other News
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to California Ban on “Conversion Therapy” for Minors
The Washington Post reports that the Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a California ban on “conversion therapy” for minors, letting stand a lower federal court ruling upholding a state law passed in 2012.

Majority of Service Members Discharged for Misconduct Diagnosed With Mental Health Disorders
According to USA Today, more than three of every five troops dismissed from service for misconduct from 2011–2015 had been diagnosed with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance use, or adjustment-related issues, as shown in a recent Government Accountability Office report.

Texas Adoption Agencies Could Soon Ban Gays, Jews, Muslims
NBCNews reports that Texas parents seeking to adopt could soon be rejected by state-funded or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples, under a proposal in the Republican-controlled legislature.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Prosecution, Defense Can Share Experts in Capital Case
NPR reports that the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in an Arkansas case concerning whether an indigent defendant whose sanity is a significant factor in their trial is entitled to assistance from a mental health expert independent of the prosecutors.
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Tech & Tools
Can Parents’ Tech Obsessions Contribute to a Child’s Bad Behavior?

Fatigue. Hunger. Boredom.

Those are often on the list of reasons parents mention if their child whines, has tantrums or acts out.

Researchers are now asking whether such negative behaviors could be related to something else: parents spending too much time on their smartphones or tablets.

A small study from University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Illinois State University found that heavy digital technology use by parents could be associated with child behavior issues. The findings were published in the May 2017 online issue of Child Development.

Read more »
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