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ECU course trains counselors to work with military and family

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

The numbers are staggering. The Department of Veterans Affairs says 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

Despite efforts to build support for our military, suicide rates continue to rise.

But a professor at East Carolina University is hoping to change that.

A purple heart recipient who suffered from PTSD. A flight surgeon. These are the real-life faces of war. They're faces that ECU professor, Dr. Mark Stebnicki, built his course around.

"While the doctors and the nurses, firefighters and paramedics are responsible for the physical rescue, as a mental health professional, we're supposed to help with the mental help rescue," said Stebnicki.

New this Spring, ECU students can enroll in "Military and Trauma Counseling." The online course incorporates 30-minute interviews with service members, veterans and their families. They tell personal stories of tragedy and triumph. Stebnicki is using the videos as teaching tools for counseling students to understand the tradition, culture and mental health needs of our armed forces.

Stebnicki developed the course for the recently approved Military and Trauma Certificate Program which will start up this fall.

The online course also includes counselor training for civilian disaster and crisis response, including things like floods, hurricanes, and school shootings.

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