Battle Creek VAMC Virtual University - Battle Creek VA Medical Center
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Battle Creek VA Medical Center

 

Battle Creek VAMC Virtual University

There are a variety of in-person and virtual options for Veterans to live Whole Health and stay connected in their recovery.

Veterans interested in attending these phone or online group can contact the facilitator of the group for more information or to register. They will either need to provide their email and phone number so they can be included on the Video Connect Group or they will be provided a call in number with a code in order to connect to the group by phone.

Some groups have the options of direct call and their phone numbers and access codes have been included. Please understand that group space is limited and individuals will be able to join on a first come, first serve basis.


Groups and classes are sorted by day below: 

Strength at Home

These are ongoing sessions.  Dates and times will be developed by the Veteran and clinician.

This is a comprehensive program to assist Veterans struggling with anger and conflict in relationships.  There are 12, two hour sessions, that focus on:

Understanding abusive behavior and taking responsibility for abuse, understanding anger and trauma, learning ways to deescalate situations that may lead to conflict and aggression, learning how to view situations in a less hostile manner, managing anger and stress more effectively, and communicating in more assertive ways.

Contact: If you are interested in participating, have legal trouble related to domestic violence, or have more questions, please contact  Alison Mencarelli, LMSW at 269-223-6648

Group capacity: 10

Modality: Virtual and face-to-face groups are available for participation at the Battle Creek VA and most of the Community Based Outpatient Clinics

First Thursday of every month

1:00pm – 2:00 pm.

Benefits Briefing 101   

Teach about Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), which includes;  Compensation and Pension (also called disability benefits), post 9/11 GI Bill and other educational benefits, VA Home Loan,  and the process of all benefits. 

Facilitator: Brent Haddow

To Register: Please contact Brent Haddow at 313-686-8691

Format: Cisco Webex

Click Here

Group capacity:   Open to All Veteran


Monday

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Veteran Check In

This group is offered to provide Veterans an opportunity to call in an discuss any concerns or issues that they are having. COVID 19 has created an extremely stressful time for Veterans in the community. The social isolation imposed on individuals can create stress. This will opportunity to share with each other.

Facilitator: Michael Morehouse

To Register: Please contact Michael Morehouse 269-966-5600 ext. 31815.

Format: Video Connect

Group Capacity: 10

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

FOCUS ON RECOVERY

This is a topic based group that looks at various components of recovery. Veterans who attend the group are expected to participate in discussions about the varying aspects of recovery. (i.e. honesty, triggers, boundaries, relapse, etc.).

Facilitator: Russell Bell, LMSW

Telephone: 269-966-5600 ext. 31634

Group Capacity: 10

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Surviving and thriving through the day

This group will meet weekly to discuss the day to day struggles we face as we go about our daily routines.  Through the use of information on stress management, supportive discussion and activities the group will explore how our ability to tackle the difficulties we face is impacted by our perspective.

Facilitator: Darryl Weekley

Contact: 269-966-5600, ext. 39205

Zoom group

Group capacity: 10 - Open to all Veterans enrolled at the medical center

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Housing Search Group    

This group provides HUD-VASH participants who are currently searching for housing the opportunity to provide housing updates, discuss resources, barriers as well as have any questions answered in regards to securing housing through the HUD-VASH program.

Facilitator: Mike Witt

To Register: Please contact Mike Whitt at (269) 873-2226.

Format: Zoom

Group Capacity: 10 (Open to Lansing HUD VASH Veterans)

 

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

The Weekend Check-In: Peer Support Group

Peer support groups are for people who are in mental health recovery.  In this group you will assist each other while engaging in the recovery process as well as discuss  many other benefits  available to Veterans.  Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Support Specialist(s) that help to promote self-determination and assisting others in regaining control over their own lives while embracing the recovery model.

Facilitator: Reggie Howard

Contact: 269-966-5600, ext. 39209

Format: Zoom group

Group capacity: 25- Open to all Veterans enrolled at the medical center

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Chair Relaxation

Therapeutic Goals:

Relax, strengthen and energize both mind and body without leaving your seat! During sessions, we will go through simple routines including chair poses, stretches and relaxation techniques in a supportive environment. This is a great way to not only maintain and build strength and flexibility but also help calm your mind. This group can be enjoyed without having any experience.

Limit: 10

To register: Please contact Alexandra Norton, CTRS at (269) 275-7882 or alexadra.norton@va.gov

Format: VVC/VANTS

Group Capacity: 10

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Integrated Sprituality & Recovery

Therapeutic Goals:

Integrated Spirituality & Recovery (IS&R) is the ‘Spiritual’ version of the 12 Step Program. At each step, it helps the Veteran see how by embracing their higher power for long-term sobriety and abstinence from drugs, allows for a new narrative to be written in their life.


Facilitator: 
Chaplain Hooey

To Register: Please contact (269) 966-5600 ext. 36598

Format: Zoom

Target Audience: Spirituality

 

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Healthy Living and Ask The Nurse

This group is dedicated to educate Veterans on the importance of healthy living as associated with diet, sleep, and other self-care topics. There will also be a portion of this group designated for a Q&A regarding medical conditions and medication education. These topics will be set prior in order to avoid any possible disclosure to PHI.

Facilitator: Alicia Prentler

To Register: Please contact Alicia Prentler 269-873-2189

Format: Zoom video & audio (phone)

Target Audience: HUD-VASH & Residential Veterans

Capacity: 10

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

HUD/VASH Housing Search

This group will be led by a Case Manager in the HUD/VASH program.  This group is designed to be a place for Veterans to come together and discuss the barriers they have or are experiencing securing housing as well as share current resources to identify possible housing options.  Topics could range from finding affordable housing, contacting landlords, orientation material review, resource review, etc.  If you are a HUD/VASH Veteran feel free to join us using the VANTS line listed below.

Facilitator: Tyler Langoni (ext. 31726)

To Register: Please contact Tyler Langoni at 269-873-2243

Format: Zoom video & audio (phone)

Target Audience: Veterans in HUD/VASH searching or needing assistance with finding/securing housing.

Capacity: N/A 


2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Organize Your Life

Life can be so hectic these days, so hectic that everything feels messy and it’s like everything’s happening all at once. It’s time to admit that we need help in organizing our lives. Never miss another appointment because you are so over loaded. Organize your life at home, work and everything in between. Join this group and learn how to be organized. 

Facilitator: Emily MacDonald

To Register: Please contact Emily MacDonald at 269-615-5726

Format: Zoom

Target Audience: All HCHV Veterans

Capacity: Unlimited

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Learning to Help Others

The purpose of this group is to educate Veterans on how they can learn peer support skills to implement support groups or how to interact with a Veteran who is struggling with recovery. The group is interactive where Veterans are expected to share and examine their own experiences with recovery to better understand how to help others.

Facilitator: Russell Bell. LMSW

Tel. 269-966-5600 ext. 31634

Group Capacity: 10


Tuesday

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Mindful, Awareness and Thoughts

A mindfulness group that will use a strengths based focus to achieve one’s awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting one’s thoughts and bodily reactions.  We will be doing breathing exercise, relaxations techniques and physical exercise(mainly walking).

Facilitator: Gayle Witham

Contact: (269) 339-1517

Format:  Zoom group

Group capacity: 10- Open to all Veterans enrolled in VA Medical care

10:00am-11:00am

HUD/VASH Housing Search Group/tenant advocacy skills

This group will increase awareness on tenant advocacy skills, housing rights,  inspections, documentation and additional skills to effectively identify and access housing. Information will be provided on how to use technology, though apps, pdf, document delivery and electronic communication to expedite voucher issuance. Veterans in a group setting can share strategies, leads and or experiences in the housing process.

Facilitator: Maria Bosnak

Contact: (269) 425-0993

Format: Zoom group

Group capacity: (Open to Benton Harbor Veterans)


9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Anger Management

Learn about anger and how to keep yourself from making things worse when you are angry. Learn relaxation approaches, new ways of thinking, and how to deal more effectively with other people.

Facilitator: Thelmo Torrealba

To Register: Please contact Thelmo Torrealba at (517) 599-4663.

Format: Video Connect

Capacity: (Open to Lansing Veterans)

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Peer Support Life Skills Group

Peer support groups are for people who are in mental health recovery.  In this group you will assist each other while engaging in the recovery process as well as discuss  many other benefits  available to Veterans.  Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Support Specialist(s) that help to promote self-determination and assisting others in regaining control over their own lives while embracing the recovery model.

Facilitator: Ron Henson

To Register: Please contact Ron Henson cell phone at 269-268-0337

Format:  Zoom group

Group capacity: 20

11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Relapse and Prevention group

Providing tools and strategies to help you on your recovery journey. Veterans will be presented materials and presentation on Relapse and Prevention, Anger management, Changing Unhealthy Thinking patterns, Relationship related triggers, Changing Irrational Beliefs and Scheduling Activities in Early Recovery.

Facilitator: Lisa Alicea, 269-967-2153.

Format: Zoom Connect

Group Capacity: Open to all Veterans

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Stress Relaxation & Self-Reflection

This group provides Veterans an avenue to learn and utilize stress relaxation techniques while simultaneously confronting the barriers we face when working on self-improvement. A variety of topics will be discussed including deep breathing, progressive relaxation, vulnerability, and reframing negative thoughts. 

Facilitator: Jennie Brown

To Register: Please contact Jennie Brown at (269) 223-0176

Format: Zoom

Group Capacity: 10, Open to all Veterans enrolled at the medical center

1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m.

Peer Support Group

Peer support groups are for people who are in mental health recovery.  In this group you will assist each other while engaging in the recovery process as well as discuss  many other benefits  available to Veterans.  Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Support Specialist(s) that help to promote self-determination and assisting others in regaining control over their own lives while embracing the recovery model.

Facilitator: Reggie Howard

To Register: Please contact Reggie Howard at 269-966-5600, ext. 39209

Format: Zoom group

Group capacity: 25

2:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m.

Do ask, Do Tell! An LGBTQ Veteran Support Group

 
A safe and supporting place for LGBTQIA Veterans to get to know one another, share stories, and be validated in their service, no matter what era.  Over the decades, the military has changed their stance on LGBTQIA service. Whether you served when it was forbidden, during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or after DOMA was lifted and you could serve openly, let’s share stories and support one another.

Facilitator: Jackie Parrish

Contact: 269-873-2299

Zoom Group Group capacity: 12



Wednesday

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Peer Support Life Skills Group

Peer support groups are for people who are in mental health recovery.  In this group you will assist each other while engaging in the recovery process as well as discuss  many other benefits  available to Veterans.  Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Support Specialist(s) that help to promote self-determination and assisting others in regaining control over their own lives while embracing the recovery model.

Facilitator: Ron Henson

To Register: Please contact Ron Henson cell phone at 269-268-0337

Format:  Zoom group

Group capacity: 20



11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Death of a Loved One Group

Learn about the stages of grieving and the potential impacts on life during each stage. There is no pattern and the grieving process is unique to the individual. Learn to identify symptoms and characteristics within each stage and how to cope through the process.

Facilitator: Ebony Crane

To Register: Please contact Ebony Crane at 269.873.2236.

Format: Zoom

Group Capacity: 10

11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Music in Recovery

This group will focus on discussion and music therapy approaches to be used as a coping skill. Participants do not need to know how to play a musical instrument.

COVID 19 has created an extremely stressful time for Veterans in the community and many express themselves through the use of music, whether recorded or playing an instrument.  The social isolation imposed on individuals can create stress.  Music-based interventions can provide an opportunity to share with others through self-expression, and help to identify ways to improve mood and boost morale by using music as a therapeutic medium.  

Facilitator: Mason Roberts

Contact: (269)-986-4917 or mason.roberts@va.gov

Format: Zoom Group Meeting

Group Capacity: 10


11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Life Skills Recovery

This is an opportunity to learn and foster daily life skills related to sustaining and strengthening recovery from addiction and/or mental health challenges.

Facilitator: Sean Stallworth

Contact: 269-966-5600 ext. 33563

Format: Zoom group

Group capacity: 25- Open to all Veterans enrolled at the medical center

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

GWOT Support Group

Sessions will provide a space for all Post 9/11 Veterans to process current events in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism while connecting with other Veterans for guidance and support.  Facilitators will review strategies for managing ongoing stress, provide resources, and assist with coordinating  continuing care as needed.

Facilitator: Kris Tabiadon and Mick Hornev

To Register: call (269) 966-5600 ext. 36451 or ext. 34341

Format:  Zoom group

Group capacity: 20


1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Military Women’s Empowerment Group

Zoom Group focusing on issues facing todays women including topics on Addictions; trauma; relationships; sleep disorders; child rearing; and more. A specific topic will be covered each week using videos and or handouts and time for Group support.

Facilitator: Valerie Butler

To Register: Valerie Butler, Valerie.Butler@va.gov call: (269) 966-5600 ext. 31104

Format: Video Connect

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Art Group           

Now more than ever, we need to make time to be creative. From wherever you are, we are going to do art together! If you have supplies, great! You can do any project you want. You can also do crafts, knitting, whatever is your form of positive creativity! If you don’t have supplies, I can send some to you. No experience needed!

Facilitator: Allyson Bolt

To Register: Please contact Allyson Bolt at 517-231-2735.

Format: Video Connect


Thursday


10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

GWOT Buddy Check

This is a check in support group for Veterans that are current processing current events in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism.

Facilitators: Russel Bell and Bill Valonkhuyzen

To Register: Please contact (269) 966-5600 ext. 35049 or 31634

Format: Virtual or in-person

Target Audience: All Veterans

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Seeking Safety Group

This group will cover topics such as trauma, substance use, coping skills, honesty, setting boundaries, healthy relationships, healing from anger, etc.

Facilitators: Deb Brunner (ext. 30073)

To Register: Please contact Deb Brunner at 269-966-5600, ext. 30073

Format: Video Connect

Target Audience: Residential Veterans

Capacity: 12

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Employment Support Group

This group will cover topics such as resume building (resumes that get interviews), interviewing skills, Schedule A Authority, navigating USA Jobs, Michigan Talent Bank , networking skills, understanding job postings, translating military MOS to civilian skills, available jobs in different cities (will be based on who is on the call), job fairs, etc.

Facilitator: Dwayne Kelly

To Register: Please contact Dwayne Kelly at (269) 832-2854

Format: Zoom video & audio (phone)

Target Audience: HCHV Veterans in 22 county catchment area

Capacity: 20

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders (Ionia Co. Courthouse)

This group is for Veterans identified as having substance abuse disorders. CBT is a well-researched, efficacious, and time-limited psychotherapeutic approach that has been used to treat a number of mental and behavioral health conditions. CBT involves a structured approach that focuses on substance use disorders and relationships among cognitions.

Facilitator: Brenden Wright

To Register: Please contact Lisa Alicea at (269) 873-0114

Format: Video Connect

Target Audience: Veterans in the Ionia County area seeking outpatient substance abuse treatment.

Group Capacity: Open to all Veterans

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Let’s Take a Walk

Description: This is a group that will meet each week to increase our physical activity and enjoy some community to combat the isolation that this pandemic has brought.  This group is open to anyone in the Battle Creek VA System.  If you are interested, please contact me for the ZOOM group info.  Don’t worry; Every person will go at a pace that works for them, so please join us!

Facilitator: Amanda Briggs

Contact: 269-967-0190

Format: ZOOM Group

Group Capacity: 25

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

OEF/OIF/OND PTSD Group

This group is for all Veterans who have PTSD symptoms related to their time spent in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Kuwait. This is a place to share your experiences and how you are coping with them. The group will be moderated and will include education about PTSD, anger, and the challenges of fitting back into the civilian world.

Facilitator: Thelmo, Torrealba

To Register: Please contact Thelmo, Torrealba at (517) 599-4663.

Format: Video Connect

Target Audience: (Open to OEF/OIF/OND Veterans)


1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Book and Writing Club

Let us pick up a book or write a journal entry and explore reading and writing as a choice for leisure. We will discuss many different books and writing selections in a relaxed and interactive setting, with attention to different themes and problems. There will be activities during each group centered around the selection for the week. Come share your insight, comments, and feelings in a social setting with fellow veterans. 

Facilitator: Taylor Van Horn

To Register: Please contact Taylor Van Horn at (269) 873-2458 or (269) 966-5600, ext. 31694

Format: Webex

Target Audience: Open to all Veterans

Capacity: 12

1:00 p.m. -2:00 p.m.

Peer Support Group

Peer support groups are for people who are in mental health recovery.  In this group you will assist each other while engaging in the recovery process as well as discuss  many other benefits  available to Veterans.  Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Support Specialist(s) that help to promote self-determination and assisting others in regaining control over their own lives while embracing the recovery model

Facilitator: Ron Henson

To Register: Please contact Ron Henson at (269) 966-5600, ext. 32566

Format:  Zoom group

Group capacity: 25

 

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Tackling the tough stuff

This is a group that will meet weekly to help each other work through problems that each of us faces every day.  It might be a difficult landlord or figuring out how to cope with Depression.  Every week the group will choose a new topic to tackle together.  This is an open group to anyone in the VA.

Facilitator:  Amanda Briggs

Contact:  (269) 967-0190

Format:  Zoom Group

Group Capacity: 10- Open to all Veterans enrolled at the medical center


2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Mindfulness and Timeless Trivia              

Join this group for a little relaxation and fun! Don’t forget to bring your thinking caps.

Facilitator: Cheryl Krzeminkski

To Register: Please contact Cheryl Krzeminski at (269) 986-5099

Format: Video Connect

Target Audience: All HCHV veterans


2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Advance Care Planning via Group Visits Workshop

Advance Care Planning via Group Visits is a group discussion and workshop centered on creating healthcare goals that will inform your family and providers on YOUR preferences for care.
Veterans will learn how to complete a VA Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Advance Directive(s), as well as, discuss stressors/barriers related to healthcare and end of life conversations. Available for ALL Veterans, Spouses and their families.
Facilitator: Brandon Snyder, LLMSW
To Register: Call (269)966-5600 ext. 31978
Group Capacity: 7

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Veteran and Family Council

This is a Veterans consumer council that is open to Veterans and family members. Veterans and family are invited to attend, but in order to vote on matters in the meeting you will first need to become a member. The council identifies concerns and issues that Veterans are experience and acts as a bridge between the Veteran and the VA in an attempt to address and improve the overall Veteran experience. The council meets every Thursday as a workgroup.
The 3rd Thursday of the month is the official meeting.

Facilitator: Russell Bell, LMSW

Telephone: 269-966-5600 ext. 31634

Group Capacity: 30


Friday

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Veteran Check In

This group is offered to provide Veterans an opportunity to call in an discuss any concerns or issues that they are having. COVID 19 has created an extremely stressful time for Veterans in the community. The social isolation imposed on individuals can create stress. This will opportunity to share with each other.

Facilitator: Michael Morehouse

To Register: Please contact Michael Morehouse 269-966-5600 ext. 31815.

Format: Video Connect

Group Capacity: 10


11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Peer Support Group

Peer support groups are for people who are in mental health recovery.  In this group you will assist each other while engaging in the recovery process as well as discuss  many other benefits  available to Veterans.  Groups are facilitated by Certified Peer Support Specialist(s) that help to promote self-determination and assisting others in regaining control over their own lives while embracing the recovery model.

Facilitator: Reggie Howard

To Register: Please contact Reggie Howard at (269) 966-5600, ext. 39209

Format: Zoom group

Group capacity: 25

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Communication within Relationships

Learn how to have effective communication within relationships. This can be any type of relationship, professional or personal. Communication skills will be learned based off of Cognitive Behavioral principles.

Facilitator: Laura Gilley

Contact: (269) 300.-316

Zoom group

Group Capacity: 10 – Open to ALL Veterans enrolled at the medical center


2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. 

“Supporting a healthy lifestyle through Exercise, sports and physical activities.” 

Therapeutic goals: 

To offer education about the emotional, social and physical benefits of participating in physical exercise, sport and/or physical leisure activities. 

To identify and address barriers to participating in exercise or sports. 

To provide Community, VA and virtual resource education to get more involved in exercise, sports and physical activities. 

To provide education/suggestions for functional fitness; exercises that can be done at home and with little to no equipment. 

Facilitator: Jody Barnes

To Register: Please contact Jody Barnes at (269) 234-3581 

Format:  Zoom group

Group capacity: unlimited

2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Advance Care Planning via Group Visits Workshop

“Advance Care Planning via Group Visits is a group discussion and workshop centered on creating healthcare goals that will inform your family and providers on YOUR preferences for care.

Veterans will learn how to complete a VA Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Advance Directive(s), as well as, discuss stressors/barriers related to healthcare and end of life conversations. Available for ALL Veterans, Spouses and their families.”

Facilitator:  Brandon Snyder, LLMSW

To Register: Please contact Brandon Snyder at (269) 966-5600 x 31978

Format: Video Connect

Group Capacity: 7


Sunday

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Spiritual Growth Bible Study

Interactive Spiritual Growth Bible Study. Come learn the meaning and message of the word and scripture, as guided by your Chaplains!

Facilitators: Zachary Hooey (ext. 36598)

To Register: Email Chaplain Zachary for link. Zachary.hooey@va.gov

Format: Virtual (Microsoft Teams).

Target Audience: Veterans, Family Members, and Staff. 


Other resources and support

  • Veterans Crisis Line - If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
  • For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.
  • Vet Centers - Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
  • VA Mental Health Services GuideThis guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.
  • MakeTheConnection.net - information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.
  • Download VA's self-help apps - Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
  • VA Women Veterans Call Center - Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 6:30PM ET)
  • VA Caregiver Support Line - Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 5PM ET)