Law Enforcement & First Responders

HAVE YOU EVER SERVED IN THE MILITARY?

One question can make a big difference…

SERVE THOSE WHO SERVE BY:

  • Keeping veterans, families, and communities safe in times of personal and family crisis.
  • Building trust and rapport with service members in difficult situations.
  • Partnering with other providers to help military spouses in crisis.

WHY ASK THE QUESTION?

Police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and other first responders encounter veterans, service members, and military family members, but they don’t always know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves. They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves—even when they are in some kind of trouble or crisis.  Military life can impact an individual’s safety in many ways and also the safety of others. The best way to identify and respond effectively to service members and veterans is to ASK!

When you respond to a situation—on the road, at a home, or anywhere else

ASK THE QUESTION:

Have you or a family member ever served in the military?

WHEN THE ANSWER IS “YES” , you may consider thanking them for their service. You may then also be able to increase your understanding of the situation, and help them identify veteran-specific programs, services, and benefits.  Asking further questions will also help you to:

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involved parties in difficult or escalated situations
  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (i.e. how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify individual and family support systems and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Read a vignette about how Law Enforcement
& First Responders providers can make a big difference!

Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services.  Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy.  Also be aware that responsiveness and effective follow-up are critical to building trust and rapport.

Download PDF

When did you/your family member serve? What service era? Which Branch?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

What was your/your family member’s job while serving?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • To identify individual and family support systems and resources and the availability of such

In what ways may the situation you’re dealing with now be connected to your/your family member’s military service?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • To identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involved parties in difficult or escalated situations

What is your/your family member’s discharge type/status?

  • Identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involves parties in difficult or escalated situations
  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)

Did you/your family member experience deployment? If yes, where did you/your family deploy?

  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify individual and family support systems and resources

Were you/your family member exposed to excessive noise, chemicals/gases/pesticides, explosions, or other hazardous substances?*

  • Identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involved parties in difficult or escalated situations
  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)

Have you/your family member been diagnosed with or see yourself as experiencing PTS (Post-Traumatic Stress) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)?*

  • Identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involved parties in difficult or escalated situations
  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)

Have you/your family member ever experienced Military Sexual Trauma?*

  • Identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involved parties in difficult or escalated situations
  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)

Have you/your family member ever experienced problems with anxiety/depression/anger management/substance use?*

  • Identify potential risk factors and better ensure the safety of all involved parties in difficult or escalated situations
  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)

Have you/your family member ever had thoughts of killing yourself or harming others?

  • Identify emotional and psychological issues that may impact how best to approach an individual in distress (ie how to transport safely while recognizing triggers related to being restrained)

Are you/your family member enrolled/connected to the VA or other veteran resources or organizations for support or services?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify individual and family support systems and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Is there anything that might be a barrier to seeking needed assistance in the future?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify individual and family support systems and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

* If yes, see Clinical Screening Tool.

Select your profession to see how:

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” senior services professionals can:

  1. Help older veterans feel understood and respected for their military service
  2. Make effective referrals to Veteran-specific programs and resources
  3. Help military widows access survivor benefits
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” children’s services professionals can:

  1. Help a student thrive when a parent is deployed
  2. Support families facing deployment and reintegration
  3. Improve peer sensitivity to military children
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” employment and vocational services professionals can:

  1. Identify a warrior’s transferable skills
  2. Connect Veterans to military-friendly employers
  3. Help a returning Service Member access veteran job training programs
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” faith-based professionals can:

  1. Identify families in need of extra help during deployment
  2. Motivate communities to come together on behalf of those who serve
  3. Connect military families to the supports and services they need
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” healthcare and medical professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant patient
  2. Understand the relationship between military experiences and medical symptoms
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” higher education professionals can:

  1. Help a warrior acclimate to a civilian learning environment
  2. Improve peer sensitivity to veteran classmates
  3. Effectively accommodate service-connected disabilities
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” housing services professionals can:

  1. Identify families that qualify for Veteran-specific housing programs
  2. Address service-related barriers to stable housing
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” law enforcement professionals can:

  1. Keep veterans and their families safe
  2. Build trust and rapport in difficult situations
  3. Partner with providers who help Veterans in crisis
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” legal services professionals can:

  1. Support justice-involved veterans
  2. Identify legal challenges related to military service
  3. Link to effective resources
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” mental health professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant client
  2. Understand the impact of military stressors on mental health and substance use
  3. Help a family understand the emotional effects of deployment on the whole family
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” social services professionals can:

  1. Engage reluctant Veteran clients
  2. Meet a military family’s unique needs
  3. Coordinate services between veteran and civilian providers
Click here to learn how

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” women’s services professionals can:

  1. Partner with veteran service providers in crisis situations
  2. Identify deployment-related triggers and risk factors
  3. Identify individuals affected by Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
Click here to learn how
Call Us (844)-4ASKVET
Email Us AskTheQuestion@eastersealsnh.org