Program Launches in Long Beach to Help Veterans with Untreated PTSD
2010-12-29 · By Editor
Nearly 20 percent of all veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but only 40 percent seek treatment for the condition. U.S. Vets is launching an innovative program in Long Beach to identify and treat combat veterans suffering from PTSD who have not sought treatment. If successful, the program may be expanded to other regions.
PTSD is a precursor for a host of serious problems, including depression, anxiety, isolation, anger management, substance abuse, and homelessness.
“Our goal is to get them early – before the trouble begins,” said Stephen Peck, president and CEO of U.S.VETS. “No one has ever done anything like this before.”
The PTSD outreach program will initially be run out of the U.S.VETS site in Long Beach and concentrate on outreach to veterans attending community colleges, including Long Beach City College, Santa Monica Community College and Los Angeles Community College.
Established in 2001, the Long Beach site is the largest of the eleven U.S. VETS locations. It is situated at the Villages at Cabrillo, 26 acres of former Cabrillo/Savannah Naval housing site. U.S.VETS – Long Beach is the only U.S.VETS Site that offers the Women Veterans & Children program.
The new program will also have a presence at the Los Alamitos Joint Force Reserve Training Center in partnership with the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. The collaboration is a natural extension of U.S.VETS Veterans Reentry Project, a specific residential program for male veterans recently returning from Iraq and Afghanistan diagnosed with PTSD.
Peck, a Marine combat veteran who served in Vietnam, said the program could easily be expanded if it proves successful.
“So many of my fellow Vietnam vets had PTSD for years without knowing it and the result was a life of instability, substance abuse, broken families and homelessness,” said Peck. “We don’t want this to happen again with these young vets, so if we can expand this program successfully, we’ll be saving thousands of lives and families.”
The Department of Military Social Work at USC will also evaluate U.S.VETS newest program.
U.S.VETS has sought the help of Clinical Psychologist Todd Adamson, who has vast experience working with veterans afflicted with PTSD. Dr. Adamson will work with a cadre of USC Social Work Interns and pre-doctoral students from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The teams will visit local community colleges and Los Alamitos to provide services, information and resources for PTSD.
The post traumatic stress disorder program for veterans is funded by grants by the Weingart and UniHealth Foundations. It will be staffed and further developed in January 2011.
U.S. Vets is the nation’s largest nonprofit devoted to providing housing and other services to homeless and at-risk veterans. With more than 2,000 veterans staying in 11 U.S.VETS sites across the country, the organization provides a wide array of coordinated programs to support the efforts of veterans working to reintegrate into the civilian community. Find out more information about the organization at www.usvetsinc.org.