Thanks to the professional work of Veteran Peer Specialist Bob Gorman as well as dedicated volunteer Leslie Wolko of the Wolko Design Group, the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation 2016 official Annual Report is ready for review. We are sure that you will agree they have done a fantastic job of creating our most professional and informative report ever. Click on the cover to download or read your own copy.
By Marc Burgess, Special to Military Times 12:10 p.m. EST November 25, 2015
Our recent annual observance of Veterans Day marked a genuine, heartfelt "thank you" to the men and women who have bravely served our nation. But now that the celebrations are over, it's an appropriate time to ask an important question: Are we truly supporting America's veterans?
A landmark survey conducted by my organization, Disabled American Veterans, reveals a very mixed answer.
There are 22 million veterans in this country. They are our family members, friends and neighbors; indeed, we all likely know at least one veteran. But there is much that many of us don't know or understand about their experiences, attitudes and perceptions.
Apr 25, 2016 | by Amy Bushatz
Many Tricare users would face annual enrollment fees in a newly named plan under a draft proposal released Monday by the House Armed Services Committee.
Under the plan, current users of Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra would fall into the newly minted Tricare Preferred plan. Users would continue to be permitted to self-refer to providers, but doing so would come with an annual enrollment fee of $100 for individuals and $200 for families starting in 2020.
September 5, 2014
Newly published research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala shows how meditation and breathing exercises can help military veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.
BY CLIFTON B. PARKER
For several years, Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and lead author of the article, has been studying the effects of breathing-based meditation practices on veterans suffering from PTSD.
"This is the first randomized controlled study on a form of meditation or yoga for veterans with PTSD that has shown such long-term, lasting effects," she said in an interview.
PTSD, which affects about one in five veterans, is typically triggered by the experience of a terrifying or life-threatening event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts and emotions. Returning vets suffering from PTSD have extremely high suicide rates, Seppala said.
Soldiers wait out a sandstorm in Iraq. (The inclusion of the soldiers pictured in this story should not be construed to indicate that any of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.)
Though only 10 percent of American forces see combat, the U.S. military now has the highest rate of post-traumatic stress disorder in its history. Sebastian Junger investigates.
The first time I experienced what I now understand to be post-traumatic stress disorder, I was in a subway station in New York City, where I live. It was almost a year before the attacks of 9/11, and I’d just come back from two months in Afghanistan with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance. I was on assignment to write a profile of Massoud, who fought a desperate resistance against the Taliban until they assassinated him two days before 9/11. At one point during my trip we were on a frontline position that his forces had just taken over from the Taliban, and the inevitable counterattack started with an hour-long rocket barrage. All we could do was curl up in the trenches and hope. I felt deranged for days afterward, as if I’d lived through the end of the world.
An instructor with Joined Forces Yoga teaches a class for Soldiers with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) offered by Joined Forces Yoga at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, April 23, 2015. (U.S. Army photo/ Sgt. Sierra A. Fown)
VA Weighs PTSD Care that Avoids Traumatic Memories
NAPLES, Italy — Revisiting a traumatic event in a therapy session can open a door to relief for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But confronting bad memories may not be the answer for everyone.
After years of emphasizing trauma-focused psychotherapy as a preferred treatment for PTSD, researchers and clinicians with the Department of Veterans Affairs are considering forms of therapy that steer clear of traumatic memories, including those focusing on mindfulness.
Although relatively new and backed by less research than other therapies, the treatments could expand practitioners’ options and could offer patients a greater say in their care, a top VA clinician said. That, in turn, could lead to better outcomes.
“I think the coming years will be a maturation of the field, the realization that there’s more than one door,” said Harold Kudler, chief consultant for VA Mental Health Services.
The State of the American Veteran: The Chicagoland Veterans Study surveyed nearly 1,300 veterans, along with follow-up focus groups with 20 veterans, in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will counties. The study was conducted in partnership with Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.
The study found that many service members leaving the military and returning to the Chicagoland area are not prepared for the transition home and have a range of needs that cannot be easily addressed by a single organization.
WASHINGTON – Dan Mikulecky had an epiphany during his 2004 deployment to Iraq with the Montana National Guard.
He had joined the Guard for college, but wasn't sure the direction he wanted to go in life post-deployment. Being out in the Iraqi countryside, however, it became clear to him: he wanted to return to rural Montana and become a farmer.
When he got back to the U.S., Mikulecky received a preferential veteran's loan, agricultural training and financial advising through Northwest Farm Credit Services. He purchased land in Rudyard, Montana and grow it into a thriving wheat and grain farm.
"The hours from the service and the hours that you put into agriculture are very closely related," Mikulecky said. "Yeah, it's a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, but we're self-starters, always trying to go the extra mile."
Veterans swimming with whale sharks this month at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta as part of their therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.CreditMelissa Golden for The New York Times
ATLANTA — Thomas Harris slid into the cool, salty water of a 6.3-million-gallon tank at the Georgia Aquarium here and let himself float limp as kelp.
Mr. Harris, a former Army medic, gazed through a diving mask at a manta ray the size of a hang glider doing slow somersaults above shifting schools of silver fish. A 21-foot whale shark brushed silently by, inches from his face, its broad, spotted back taking up his entire view. Immersed in the moment, he forgot about the world.
This is not a weekend hobby. It is part of his therapy for the post-traumatic stress disorder he has been grappling with after his tours in Iraq. And like Mr. Harris, more veterans are turning to these sorts of outside-the-office treatment.
The broad acceptance of PTSD after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has posed an unexpected challenge. Acknowledging PTSD has only spurred a wide-ranging debate over the best way to treat it.
Traditional medical approaches generally rely on drugs and controlled re-experiencing of trauma, called exposure therapy. But this combination has proved so unpopular that many veterans quit before finishing or avoid it altogether. This has given rise to hundreds of small nonprofits across the country that offer alternatives: therapeutic fishing, rafting and backpacking trips, horse riding, combat yoga, dogs, art collectives, dolphin swims, sweat lodge vision quests and parrot husbandry centers, among many, many others.