Kennesaw State launches center for research on mental health among veterans

KSU bus

Kennesaw State University announced in a news release that the university has launched “a research center that its founders hope will help reduce suicide, anxiety and depression among Georgia’s approximately 1 million military and public safety personnel.”

The project is called the Center for the Advancement of Military and Emergency Services Research (AMES Research).

The mission of the new center is to both bring mental resources to veterans and to do the kind of research that will improve health strategies for that population.

“Military personnel and first responders experience high rates of job demands that can lead to serious behavioral and physical health concerns,” said Israel Sanchez-Cardona, associate director of the center, in the news release. “Our task is to bring together a network of people working in different kinds of research and using culturally aligned, population-specific interventions to maintain and enhance performance.”

Brian Moore and Sanchez-Cardona are assistant professors of psychology in the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Moore said the Ames Research Center will help veterans and their families use the research conducted there to build on the treatments they receive and to equip employers to handle occupational stressors.

The center also hopes to develop strategies that will help reduce stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and other issues that military and first responders are susceptible to.

“For example, a fire department’s leaders could come to the center concerned that depression or suicide risk is a significant problem within their workforce,” Moore said. “We would then create an assessment for members of the department, identify any problems that are present, and then provide interventions to the fire department leaders to help reduce depression and suicide risk.”

According to the news release:

Georgia has more than 750,000 veterans, or around 9% of the state population, and the fifth-largest active-duty population in the U.S., according to Moore. There are also an estimated 50,000 law enforcement officers and 911 personnel, more than 30,000 firefighters and nearly 25,000 EMTs, paramedics and other emergency medical workers in the state, according to organizations that certify workers in those jobs.