Tips for Navigating Mental Health in Representation
Chelsea Donaldson, Esq., MSW
Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
Thursday, May 20, 2021
2:00 p.m. ET
Talking about mental health is difficult. Veterans’ advocates and those who work with them often report that they do not know how to communicate with someone who has PTSD or schizophrenia. There is a fear of making their client feel “worse” or inadvertently offending or triggering them.
The goal of this presentation is to help advocates and their staff members communicate with their clients and potential clients in a meaningful and trauma-informed way. Chelsea will provide tips for talking to and representing veterans with mental illness; tips for de-escalation and navigating trauma; and tips for navigating delusions and psychotic disorders. Advocates and staff members who attend this webinar will walk away feeling more comfortable in navigating mental illness, having conversations about trauma, delusions, and other psychotic disorders, and communicating with veterans and their family members experiencing mental illness.
Chelsea Donaldson is a staff attorney at the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC), where she focuses her VA benefits practice on representing veterans living with mental health diagnoses before the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the Board of Veterans' Appeals. CVLC is the nation’s first medical-legal partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs targeting its legal services to veterans recovering from homelessness and mental health diagnosis. CVLC attorneys work inside VA hospitals and collaboratively with VA physicians, psychiatrists, and social workers.
Chelsea began her career at CVLC as a Connecticut Bar Foundation Singer Fellow representing survivors of military sexual trauma in VA benefits cases. Prior to her Singer Fellowship, she clerked for the Honorable Susan Quinn Cobb and the Honorable Jane Smith Scholl. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Western New England University School of Law and her M.S.W. from Springfield College.
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