Spirituality

Welcome to the Topic Guide on Spirituality.

This is a starting point for service members, veterans and family members who are interested in learning more about spirituality.

Why is spirituality important to the military and veteran community?

  • It can help to provide a foundation for understanding one’s experiences.
  • It can provide strength and support at all times but especially during times of stress.
  • It can provide encouragement and guidance when making difficult decisions in life.
  • It can encourage one to strive to be better, more loving, compassionate and less self-oriented.
  • It can aid in the search for peace, mindfulness or harmony especially when life’s struggles seem too great.

For some, seeking any kind of support is difficult. This can be especially true of service members and veterans, partly due to the focus in military culture on being independently strong. Spiritual health is also often looked at as being far less important than physical, mental, financial health, etc., however most wellness experts agree that spiritual health is of equal importance to overall wellness.

Chaplaincy
The military and their chaplains have a special relationship dating back to the founding of our nation. From nightly moments of reflection or prayers in boot camp or basic training to invocations prior to ceremonies and events to prayers before battle, spirituality is woven into the fabric of the military culture, customs and traditions.

The Chaplain Corps is an ever present element for all branches and components of the service, and whether in the field or at home, are an integral part of the force as a whole. They are tasked with the spiritual care of all service members and provide a range of duties to meet the spiritual needs of service members including supportive counseling and services. Chaplains can be of many different faith traditions and denominations.

Four sources of stress injury
Research has shown that while everyone will have stress reactions (yellow zone) to a potentially traumatic event, about 35% of people will develop a stress injury (orange zone).

Inner conflict is one of the four sources of stress injury and it can tie closely with spirituality. A spiritual professional and/or community can help an individual and family address situations of inner conflict, often in coordination with counseling and other supportive services.

Suggested reading: VA article on spirituality and trauma.

Resources:

Military Chaplain Corps – Every branch and component of the military has a Chaplain Corps dedicated to the spiritual care and well being of service members and their families.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Chaplain Service – Every VA Medical Center has Chaplains available to patients for religious and spiritual care. To connect to the Chaplains, you can ask your provider or call the main number for the medical center and ask for the Chaplain Service:

Prescott VA Medical Center: 928-445-4860 | 1-800-949-1005
Phoenix VA Medical Center: 602-277-5551 | 1-800-554-7174
Tucson VA Medical Center : 520-792-1450 | 1-800-470-8262

My HealtheVet Spirituality Center – This page of the VA’s online patient portal has information and links for learning more about spirituality.

Faith-based Communities – There are hundreds of faith-based communities of all denominations across Arizona. Connect to an organization or community in your neighborhood. Some may have programs for veterans, while others will offer programs and resources that might be of general interest. Oftentimes you may have to visit a few different communities to find the one that’s the right fit for you.

Military Ministry – This is a program started by Campus Crusade for Christ focused on equipping churches and faith communities to support warriors and families who have experienced trauma. Publications include the Combat Trauma Healing Manual.