COM Begins Veterans Support Group

Posted on: September 28, 2011

The transition from the military to the classroom can often be a difficult challenge for many of our country's veterans. But veterans enrolled at College of the Mainland now have a place to turn for support.

COM recently started a veterans peer support group through Gulf Coast Center. The group is designed to allow veterans to interact with other veterans who are going through some of the same issues as they transition into civilian life. “Education is about self discovery and it’s a change for veterans because they are use to a disciplined regiment where they are told what and when to do things,” said Derick Hutchinson, Student Advisor at COM.

Hutchinson believes that peer-to-peer training and support could facilitate the transition to college life. He argued that getting student veterans to look out for each other, “like when they were on active duty,” could normalize attitudes toward mental health issues and raise retention rates of veterans. Members of the group not only offer emotional support, but also help each other navigate and make sense of military benefits, a task that can often be daunting.

Support extends beyond those who have served — family members of veterans are also welcome to take part in the group. Many family members want to understand and help their loved ones transition into civilian life. Recently, a wife came to a meeting with her husband to learn more about how to help during the transition process. A student who has two brothers in active duty came because she wants to know more about how she help them. Some of the COM faculty members who are veterans have also attended to show their support to the veterans.

Meetings are held every Tuesday at 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. in the Public Service Careers Building room 116. The meetings are open to veterans and family members interested in helping veterans transition into civilian life. For more information about the veterans support group, call Derick Hutchison at 409-933-8156.


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