Alabama VA Medical Center / US. Department of Veterans Affairs

The federal government is helping Alabama pastors learn how to assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Veterans Affairs Medical Center is Tuscaloosa is offering a seminar this week to educate pastors, priests and other church leaders about PTSD and depression.

VA chaplain John Bailey says research shows that almost half of veterans will turn to a member of the clergy first before they seek out a mental health provider.

The quality of health care for female veterans will be the highlight at a town hall meeting in Tuscaloosa tonight. The American Legion is hosting the event. It’s the country’s largest organization of war-time veterans. Officials say women now make up about 15 percent of the country’s service members. About 340,000 women veterans are currently enrolled in the VA health-care system, and officials say they expect that number to keep growing. Roscoe Butler is a field representative with the American Legion.