On Saturday, August 17, 2013, tune in hear from Iraqi Freedom Veteran turned Social Worker Don McCasland. Listen as Don share about his experience as a soldier who was deployed multiple times prior to his retirement. Hear him discuss the mental health issues they can plague active duty and the veteran community.
Don will also debunk the controversial article that appeared in the Leaf Chronicle on August 11 and discuss the message the article sent to the men and women at 101st Airborne. Don will share the focus of SAFE and how the Clarksville, TN based non-profit works with members of the military and their families who are fighting "for inner peace, their souls, and the desperate need to feel whole again."
Tune into 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In, streaming live online at UStream.TV, and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am CST.
More About Don McCasland
Don McCasland retired from the US Army after 21+ years of service in August 2009 as a Sergeant First Class. He served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm as well as 3 Tours in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, twice with a Field Artillery unit, and once with an Infantry unit. During his deployments to Iraq, he lost over 20 friends, and during his final tour, following years of combat trauma it was his experiences as the NCO in Charge of his units' Remains Recovery Team that were the breaking point for him.
Following six years of unresolved mental and emotional trauma, he began to lose control of his life. On the verge of losing his family and everything important to him, he finally sought out counseling. With hard work and the support of a loving family, he came to grips with his PTSD. Though he still suffers from PTSD, he has the tools and skills to manage it so it no longer interferes with his life. In June of 2010, Don helped found The Lazarus Project, a non-profit that provides free counseling services to active duty, veterans and their families.
In January 2012, The Lazarus Project merged with SAFE (Soldiers and Families Embraced). SAFE offers professional mental health training specific to military psychology, workshops for family members, as well as free counseling, client advocacy, and education regarding veterans issues to the community at large.
Don has earned his Bachelors and Masters in Social Work at Austin Peay State University. He is the Program Director at SAFE, and also offers counseling to at-risk military children at a Clarksville Middle School. In addition, he started SAFE's justice system outreach program, which offers support and advocacy for clients who are navigating the court system or are incarcerated. He has been married for 17 years to Joanne, who is also a Social Worker and they have a daughter and a son.
More About SAFE (Soldiers and Families Embrace)
Soldiers And Families Embraced (SAFE) offers individual and group counseling services, as well as peer support groups for active duty, veterans and their families. These services are provided at no cost, and no insurance is required. We are a non-profit organization funded through grants and private donations. We will not deny services to any person on the basis of age, sex, religion, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation.
SAFE’s mission is to serve as a resource for the community to ease the readjustment and reintegration of military members returning from our current wars and their families, as well as veterans from previous eras. We work towards peace and healing by providing the services required, advocating for clients, assisting the community at large in finding these services through other agencies, or facilitating the creation of programs by individual organizations. In addition, we strive to help develop future mental healthcare professionals who work with our demographic by offering internships and other professional development opportunities. In this way we are able to directly address the constantly growing need for well-trained providers to our community.
We offer individual and group counseling services, as well as peer support groups for veterans. All are conducted in a “safe place” where veterans can feel free to discuss any issues or problems without fear of judgment. Our peer support groups will allow veterans to speak with others who have “been there, done that” and understand what it’s like to have the same feelings and challenges. In addition, we offer individual counseling and support groups to the families and friends of veterans. Our belief is that by strengthening and supporting those who struggle to live with and love those veterans, we can begin the healing and strengthen the community that will need to be able to unbind these veterans and let them live again. These services are provided at no cost, and no insurance is required.
SAFE will always respect the integrity and welfare of our clients. Each client is treated with respect, acceptance and dignity. The client’s right to self-determination is protected by SAFE. We recognize the client’s right to receive or refuse services. We also recognize and build on client strengths.
Client confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us at SAFE. Many, if not all of our clients are motivated to seek our services because they want privacy from University Staff and Faculty or unit Chain of Commands, Department of the Army, and Fort Campbell for fear of adverse actions, effects on Security Clearance status and/or promotions. Our staff will protect the client’s right to privacy and confidentiality except when such confidentiality would cause harm to the client or others, when agency guidelines state otherwise, or under other stated conditions (e.g., local, state, or federal laws). SAFE will inform clients of the limits of confidentiality prior to the onset of the helping relationship. If it is suspected that danger or harm may occur to the client or to others as a result of a client’s behavior, we will act in an appropriate and professional manner to protect the safety of those individuals.
We are exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For more information about our nonprofit status, please visit our givingmatters.com profile here or our guidestar.org profile here.
Photo credits: SAFE and Don McCasland (used with permission)