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Community Clergy Training Program (CCTP)

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Overview of the Community Clergy Training Program to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health

Rural Veterans in particular have limited health care options, especially for mental health care. Research indicates that mental health stigma is significant in rural America and often inhibits Veterans from seeking needed care. However, many feel that seeking help in rural faith communities will have less negative impact on their reputation within the community and on their military career. Clerics are recognized community leaders and can have a wide influence on public opinion, however, many clergy members have a limited understanding of the challenges common to returning warriors and lack the knowledge necessary to care for Veterans struggling with post-deployment and mental health related issues.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Chaplain Center and Office of Rural Health established a national Community Clergy Training Program (CCTP) to educate faith communities about how they might better use their resources to support Veterans and family members who may otherwise feel isolated, alienated and helpless. The CCTP aims to increase rural clergy’s ability to identify and support rural Veterans with reintegration challenges. Through the CCTP Train-the-Facilitator Initiative clergy members and other national partner organization representatives can gain the knowledge and tools to become a refuge, resource, and referral point for Veterans.

The CCTP has a team of trained VA Chaplain facilitators available to deliver training events in rural communities across the United States. Community clergy partners can bring a VA Chaplain to their local area for an interactive training covering four major topics:

  1. "Military Culture and Wounds of War"
  2. "Pastoral Care with Veterans and their Families"
  3. "Mental Health Services and Referrals," and
  4. "Building Community Partnerships"

The VA Chaplain leads and facilitates the training and provides training materials, at no cost to the community clergy partner. Partners help secure a training space and recruit attendees. Read more about the Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health and how you can work with a CCTP VA Chaplain Facilitator to deliver this valuable training in your community.

Be our Partner! LEARN HOW


The CCTP Webinar Series brings community clergy and others together with subject matter experts for a live, interactive learning experience. All webinars are recorded and made available for viewing on demand. Webinar topics include:

  • Moral Injury
  • PTSD
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Women Warriors
  • Rural Clergy and Confidentiality
  • Needs of the Terminally Ill Veteran
  • Building Community Partnerships

Learn more about CCTP Webinars and access webinar recordings for viewing on demand.


The Clergy Connection newsletter presents a variety of articles about a topic of interest to Veteran care, including:

  • spirituality
  • moral injury
  • suicide prevention
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Veteran family care
  • and more!

Visit The Clergy Connection Newsletter page to access all issues and to subscribe to the CCTP distribution list.

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The "Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health" Promising Practice is funded by the VA Office of Rural Health.