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As the nation recognizes Veterans Day, U-M supports troops on the battlefield, home front

HomeFront Strong program aims to build resiliency in military spouses, partners experiencing distress associated with deployment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- While many military mental health initiatives emphasize the needs and wellbeing of service members, a program at the University of Michigan is focused on improving the lives of military spouses and partners experiencing the stress of deployment. An eight-week group program, HomeFront Strong is designed to help military family members build social support and positive relationships, learn new approaches to self-care and understand resiliency and positive coping. The program is open to military spouses or partners at any point before, during or after deployment. “Behind every military service member and veteran is a family that has lived the life of deployment,” says Michelle Kees, Ph.D., the leader of HomeFront Strong. “Yet, most military mental health programs offer only limited support extended to the family members who are also facing challenges. HomeFront Strong is intended to fill this void. Particularly on Veterans Day, we are honored to serve the families that serve us.  By honoring families, we are also honoring our service members and veterans.” The program is sponsored by M-SPAN, whose programs have been developed by faculty and staff from the U-M Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry in collaboration with the Michigan Army National Guard and Michigan State University. Honoring our Veterans As the nation recognizes Veterans Day Nov. 11, there are a number of opportunities and initiatives underway to keep veterans and their families strong, and to celebrate their service and sacrifices. Crisler Center to host 3rd annual Army-Navy Wheelchair Basketball Game   For the first time, the University of Michigan Army-Navy Wheelchair Basketball game will be played on the hardwood of Crisler Arena. The event is part of U-M’s Veterans Day celebration and the final event of the university’s Investing in Ability Week, a more than weeklong recognition of the talents and skills of those with disabilities. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and admission is free. Improving the health of the nation’s veterans A large team of researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Ann Arbor Healthcare System will move to U-M’s North Campus, making it easier to collaborate with the U-M on health issues that affect veterans and non-veterans alike, and to test new ideas for improving care in heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and more. Challenge of kidney disease among veterans The University of Michigan will lead the creation of the National Kidney Disease Registry for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The registry will help the VA assess risk factors for kidney failure, costs and detect any barriers to care, such as waits for kidney transplants, for the more than 10,000 veterans on dialysis today. At least 3,200 veterans reach kidney failure each year. Turkey Trot benefits troops and families The 2012 Turkey Trot, Nov. 10 at Hudson Mills Metropark in Dexter, Mich., will benefit Soldiers Angels, Cell Phones for Soldiers, Inc., and TroopDirect.  Donations of cell phones, gear, and other supplies will be accepted on race day. For more details, go to the Turkey Trot charity page

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