Articles in Category: News

VA Amends Enrollment Regulations

on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in News

The VA has amended its enrollment regulations to allow veterans to complete applications for enrollment in VA health care by telephone without the need for a signed paper application.  The change is effective immediately for combat veterans and will be effective July 5, 2016, for all veterans.

This phased implementation accelerates VA's effort to enroll all combat veterans with pending applications as part of its ongoing Veterans Enrollment Rework Project. The VA is working to complete the review and rework of all pending health enrollment records for living and deceased veterans this summer. Veterans can view the amended regulation on the Federal Register website.

VA’s Modernization of Claims Process Continues

on Friday, 24 March 2017. Posted in News

More than 300,000 digitalized inactive-claim records removed to improve process service

March 20, 2017
Early this year, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) began extracting hundreds of thousands of inactive-claim records from regional offices east of the Mississippi for digital conversion. Inactive-claim records are claim files that have been settled and have remained inactive for a number of years. The initiative will help reduce processing time for thousands of new claims associated with inactive records.

(Re-Published) Great News About Illinois Veteran Property Taxes!

on Tuesday, 20 June 2017. Posted in News

Great News for disabled Veterans in Illinois!  The Governor has signed Senate Bill 107 that provides for increased real estate tax relief for disabled Veterans. Under the new bill, if you are disable 70% or higher, you will pay no property taxes any more. If you are disabled 50-60%, you will receive a $5000 reduction in assessed valuation, and if you are disabled between 30-40% you will receive a $2500 reduction in assessed valuation as a homestead exemption.

Read the full text of the Public Act 99-0375 that establishes this new benefit for disabled Veterans.

VA Weighs PTSD Care that Avoids Traumatic Memories

on Friday, 21 August 2015. Posted in News

 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)

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.

LCVFSF Board Elects Stanley G. McCracken, Ph.D., LCSW, RDDP, Ex-Offico Board Mermber

on Friday, 21 October 2016. Posted in News

 

Dr. Stanley G. McCracken, Ph.D, LCSW, RDDP, has been elected an Ex-Officio member of the Board of Directors of the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation effective October 18, 2016.  Dr. McCracken is a Vietnam Veteran of the U.S. Army.

McCracken is Lecturer in the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. He has written about psychiatric rehabilitation, addiction, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral medicine, aging, motivational interviewing, and staff training. He is co-author of Interactive Staff Training and Practice Guidelines for Extended Psychiatric Residential Care and co-editor of From Task-Centered Social Work to Evidence-Based and Integrative Practice: Reflections on History and Implementation.

He has forty years’ experience as a clinician, educator, and consultant. His practice interests include mental health, drug, and medical problems; aging; addressing cross-cultural and spirituality in direct practice; and veterans’ issues. He served as a linguist in the US Army in Vietnam.

Equine Therapy for Veterans Available in Lake County

on Wednesday, 31 May 2017. Posted in News

 
  • Gestalt10-17-14

Ashti Dawson, a member of the Illinois Army National Guard, talks about how she was helped by equine therapy, offered by the Equine Assited Growth and Learning Association. 

By Amanda Marrazzo
Special to the Tribune 

Emotional issues that veterans might find too big to tackle in a therapist's office can sometimes be worked out with a little help from a friendly horse, experts say.

Offering an alternative aimed at helping active duty and retired veterans and their families cope with such problems, members of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association hosted a demonstration Monday in Elgin.

"They are not used to talking about their feelings," Hayley Sumner said of many veterans struggling with emotional and mental health issues. Sumner works with an equine therapy program for veterans in Massachusetts. "They are very hands on."

(Republished) Remarkable Impact of Yoga Breathing for Trauma

on Thursday, 01 June 2017. Posted in News

"Military guys doing yoga and meditation?"

Emma Seppala 

I've been asked in disbelief. It's true that when they first arrived to participate in my study (a yoga-based breathing program offered by a small non-profit organization), the young, tattoo-covered, hard-drinking, motorcycle-driving all-American Midwestern men didn't look like your typical yoga devotees. But their words after the study said it all: "Thank you for giving me my life back" and "I feel like I've been dead since I returned from Iraq and I feel like I'm alive again." Our surprisingly positive findings revealed the power that lies in breath for providing relief from even the most deep-seated forms of anxiety.

As many of us know, there is an unspoken epidemic that is taking 22 lives a day in the U.S.

Who is impacted? Those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in protection of others: Veterans.

How? Suicide.

Why? War trauma.

Average age? 25.

Veterans Affairs Program Works to Ensure That No Vet Dies Alone

on Wednesday, 17 February 2016. Posted in News

No Veteran Dies Alone

The old Army cook and the injured artilleryman sat shooting the breeze at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.

Nick Konz spent part of the 1960s in uniform, turning low-grade meat into meals for soldiers stationed in Germany.

Ray O'Brien came home "banged up" from the Korean War, prompting a discharge and a loss of military life that the 86-year-old would lament after until the day he died.

By that November day, O'Brien was suffering from vascular disease and had settled into hospice care. Still, the Libertyville man retained the loquaciousness of someone healthier as he held court from his wheelchair.

"The American Legion has the best bars," he noted, hair gelled up by a nurse for the visitors, his right leg swollen with blood that refused to circulate.

"Depends on who's bartending," Konz said.

 

Stanford Scholar Helps Veterans Recover from War Trauma

on Tuesday, 02 December 2014. Posted in News

Stanford Report 

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.

Adam Burn practicing yoga

Adam Burn, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, practices yoga techniques to help combat stress. A Stanford scholar has found that breathing-based meditation dramatically reduces PTSD in veterans.

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.

Kevlar for the Mind: Helping Professionals for Veterans

on Wednesday, 04 February 2015. Posted in News

Like the decade following the end of World War II, the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been marked by a tremendous influx of veterans into the classroom.

Traditional "brick and mortar" and virtual universities and schools are frantically trying to keep pace with the opportunities afforded to troops through the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

And these opportunities range from technical and scientific fields as found in the Professional Program for Veterans and Military Personnel at California State University to business as exemplified by the Master of Business for Veterans degree at the University of Southern California.