Veterans affected by Hurricane Harvey eligible for free PTSD treatment
Veterans in the Texas Gulf Coast area can receive a three-week, intensive-outpatient treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in San Antonio at no cost, thanks to a grant that pays for therapy, travel and lodging.
Funding for the program, called Project Remission, was made possible by a partnership between the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Qatar Harvey Fund to support veterans who were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“The Qatar Harvey Fund and the Bob Woodruff Foundation have a multi-year partnership to provide grants to best-in-class organizations addressing the needs of veterans in storm-afflicted parts of Texas,” said Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S. “Through our work in the region, we’ve learned that storm recovery isn’t just about property damage. Ensuring mental health and wellness is one of the most important things we can do.”
The grant will pay for 40 post-9/11 veterans from 41 Texas counties affected by the massive 2017 storm to travel to San Antonio for treatment. They will receive an enhanced form of Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, a leading evidence-based treatment for PTSD, from therapists with the STRONG STAR Consortium based at UT Health San Antonio.
Project Remission is part of STRONG STAR’s ongoing work to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the psychological wounds of war and to help the hundreds of thousands of post-9/11 veterans and military service members who suffer from PTSD. While evidence-based treatments are available for PTSD, individuals with combat-related PTSD have lower recovery rates with those therapies than do civilians whose PTSD may be due to assault, natural disaster, motor vehicle accidents or other traumas. Some reasons may be that combat veterans have been exposed to a greater number of traumas and a wider variety of trauma types over one or multiple deployments, making their cases more complicated and difficult to treat.
For these reasons, Project Remission includes several enhancements to standard outpatient PE therapy designed to improve treatment outcomes with combat PTSD and give patients a better chance of recovery.
Project Remission recently was evaluated in a randomized clinical trial in which patients had an average reduction of symptoms that was double the amount generally considered clinically significant.
“The grant funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Qatar Harvey Fund allows us to provide this cutting-edge therapy to help relieve the suffering of more than three dozen psychologically wounded warriors whose lives also were impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” said STRONG STAR Director Alan Peterson, Ph.D., a UT Health San Antonio professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who developed Project Remission. “It also gives us an opportunity to take what we’ve learned through our research and apply it to a clinical program that could serve as a national model and potentially help thousands more.”
Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, added, “High-quality, evidence-based mental health care treatment makes a real difference for veterans and their families who are recovering from the psychological impact of their service. We are pleased to provide this Bob Woodruff Foundation-Qatar Harvey Fund grant to support Project Remission so their team of qualified clinicians can continue to provide effective PTSD treatment to veterans from the Texas Gulf Coast region.”
For additional information on Project Remission, or to inquire about participation, please visit www.strongstar.org/IOP-GulfCoast.