BLUEMONT, Va. – November 8-14th is Mental Health Wellness Week, overlapping Veteran’s Day. This is an ideal time to focus on the mental health issues that combat veterans and their family members are facing, and innovative programs that really do help them. It’s estimated by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, that up to 30 percent of veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depending upon their service era. Unfortunately, recent research in the Journal of the American Medical Association, states that there is an urgent need for innovative treatment strategies.
Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is the nation’s first privately-funded rural wellness center dedicated exclusively to solving the problem of combat stress. The Retreat is leveraging their first-in-the-nation status to develop the nation’s first comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum for combat stress recovery – an effort called PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Therapies for Healing Heroes). This robust effort, taking place in partnerships with experts and leading institutions from across the country, includes instructor and participant workbooks, train-the-trainer programs, robust program evaluation methodologies, and a technology platform designed to ensure the benefits of time at the Retreat is sustained for years to come.
Through more than two years of operation, the Retreat has hosted and delivered more than 40 PATHH programs. Quantitative and qualitative data suggest that the program is achieving results exponentially better than the current mainstream approaches. One of the researchers, Dr. Bret Moore, a former DOD Psychologist, said: “In just 2 days, PATHH has made breakthroughs that would take the normal medical model 12-14 months.”
PATHH leverages a host of evidence-based modalities that are proven to be effective for combat stress – including meditation, yoga, group therapy, art, music and equine therapy, EMDR, nature, recreational therapies, a few ancient warrior traditions, and robust goal setting-exercise. PATHH is delivered by a unique blend of world-class therapists, trained military mentors and life coaches all know as PATHH Guides.
“One of the keys to our success is that our team acknowledges and discusses the truth about life.” said Ken Falke, Boulder Crest Retreat’s founder and chairman, “Life is hard – and full of ups and downs. Very few of us have ever been exposed to the tools we need to handle those so that we can live life on life’s terms. At its core, PATHH is training for life – it enables these remarkable men and women to tap their inner strength and capabilities and develop new tools and abilities so they can be as productive here at home as they were on the battlefield.”
It is estimated that more than 700,000 of the 2.7 million men and women who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are battling some form of combat-related stress. It is clear, based on a range of statistics, that the current approach is not providing the vast majority of these men and women with what they deserve and require. The New York Times recently reported that, “A 2014 study of 204,000 veterans, in The Journal of the American Psychological Association, found nearly two-thirds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans stopped VA therapy for PTSD within a year, before completing the treatment. A smaller study from the same year found about 90 percent dropped out of therapy.”
Ken Falke continued, “On this week devoted to Mental Health, we are proud to announce our commitment to developing and scaling an approach to mental health that truly works for the most deserving among us. PATHH has the potential to transform the lives of service members, veterans and their family members; more significantly, it presents us with the opportunity to unlock the potential of a group of men and women that should be America’s Next Greatest Generation.”
ABOUT BOULDER CREST RETREAT
Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness is a rural sanctuary that provides free accommodations, recreational and therapeutic activities and programs to help our nation’s military and veteran personnel and their families recover and reconnect during their long journey of healing from physical and invisible wounds of war. The 37-acre retreat is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bluemont, Virginia, just 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. The Retreat is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is entirely funded through private donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information about Boulder Crest Retreat, please visit us online at BoulderCrestRetreat.org