In addition, Anderson said he suspects that these bartenders may actually know more than anyone else about the problems of some veterans.
"Some veterans will tell things to bartenders that they wouldn't even tell their spouses or family," he said.
"And bartenders can probably say things to the veterans that a spouse would be reluctant to say like 'I think you need to get some professional help.'"
That doesn't mean that VFW bartenders should be practicing therapy or be expected to be mental health counselors, Anderson emphasized.
About two-thirds of those surveyed rated their ability to recognize depression in their patrons as "moderate," while the remaining third rated their ability as "high."
Only 14 percent rated their ability to recognize symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as "high" while 43 percent rated their ability as low.
But about 60 percent said they would be interested in additional training on how to spot physical and mental health problems in their customers, if the training was offered through the VFW.
That's one reason Anderson said he selected bartenders at the VFW for the study, rather than bartenders at public bars or nightclubs. Nearly all the customers are veterans, so bartenders are familiar with their problems and struggles and may even be familiar with VA services that may be available to them.
Anderson said he has contacted the national VFW headquarters to see if he and his colleagues can put together a brief online training program for their bartenders. Such a program would teach bartenders the symptoms of mental health problems, the resources available to veterans, and techniques for referring veterans to services in a way that does not alienate them.
Anderson said he suspects some people will be concerned about any program that addresses mental health is
|Contact: Keith Anderson|
Ohio State University