Brigadier Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hammond (2nd from left), executive director of Home Base, a Boston Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program takes part in a health and wellbeing panel at the Veteran Stand-To in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON (July 19, 2017) – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) recently joined the Bush Institute and other veterans service organizations to take on the issues facing today’s generation of veterans.
While looking at priorities like mental health care, employment, and education, more than 70 organizations also convened to focus on post-traumatic stress.
“Wounded Warrior Project is honored to connect with so many organizations to address the issues our veterans face today,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “By working together, we can reach more warriors and create greater impact.”
The gathering also highlighted an increased effort by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to partner with nonprofit and for-profit organizations to increase care options for veterans.
“The more resources available to warriors, the better,” Mike said. “One of the biggest needs outside of mental health care is ensuring wounded veterans are finding the right career.”
In a WWP survey of the warriors it serves, more than 15 percent of those who are no longer active duty reported they were unemployed. That is three times the unemployment rate for the general veteran population. Part of the meeting of organizations in Washington focused on unemployment and how companies can help veterans transition to the civilian world.
WWP’s career counseling connects injured veterans with career opportunities, serves them by offering interview coaching, and empowers them through networking.
WWP’s collaborative efforts can put wounded veterans in position to find the right profession or advance in existing civilian careers. WWP works with Onward to Opportunity during the transition process. Veterans and their spouses take part in a four-day career boot camp, where they learn about writing and polishing resumes, potential interview questions, as well as skills and education needed for roles in information technology, customer service, project management, and human resources. After boot camp, warriors and spouses start an online program to further their education in their desired field. Onward to Opportunity is free to today’s generation of veterans and their spouses.
The gathering also addressed the mental and physical health of today’s generation of wounded veterans.
Former President George W. Bush attended the summit to tout the vital role of wellness in the warrior journey to recovery.
“It takes a nation to build an army. It also takes a nation to welcome that army home and provide care and support when they return,” said Jack Hammond, executive director at Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program. Home Base is part of Warrior Care Network®, an innovative partnership between WWP, four top academic medical centers, and VA. Warrior Care Network offers intense outpatient programs that provide more than 70 hours of clinical therapy in two to three weeks.
“No single program will solve this – what we see in veterans who come through Home Base,” Jack said. “They get the clinical mitigation they need, they get that stuck point fixed, they’re given the skills they need to succeed in life, and they are connected to something bigger. They have meaningful employment, they get back into college, they get connected with community-based programs. Programs like Home Base, Warrior Care Network, clinical providers – we set the condition for success. Then you have programs that connect folks to jobs and community-based peer programs; they guarantee that success for life.”
Among the first 1,000 patients treated through Warrior Care Network, outcomes are showing marked improvement in clinical scales that track quality of life and resiliency. That progress continues six months after treatment.
“What we’re finding is reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress,” said Mike Richardson, WWP vice president of mental health and independence services. “These warriors are starting to feel and act as they did before they joined the military, and before their traumatic experience in service.”
Three of four veterans registered with WWP live with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the 2016 WWP Annual Warrior Survey. Symptoms include nightmares, jitters, and negative feelings. People dealing with PTSD may also be uncomfortable in large crowds and may self-isolate.
“Warrior Care Network breaks through some of these self-imposed walls,” Mike Richardson said. “Through clinical care and identifying coping mechanisms, these men and women are addressing the trauma creating challenges.”
WWP is part of President George W. Bush’s Warrior Wellness Alliance, a collaboration of top veteran healthcare providers including Warrior Care Network, Cohen Veterans Network, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance®. The alliance also includes peer-to-peer networks like WWP’s peer support groups, George W. Bush Institute Team 43, The Mission Continues, Team RWB, and Team Rubicon. Collaborative efforts like these increase opportunities for warriors to connect with other veterans and their communities.
To learn and see more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org, and click on multimedia.
Contact: Rob Louis – Public Relations
About Wounded Warrior Project
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) connects, serves, and empowers wounded warriors. Read more at http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/about-us.