Global Edition Telehealth Veterans Affairs, Walmart open latest telehealth pilot site

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Walmart store front pictured

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and retail giant Walmart have opened the latest location as part of a joint effort help Vets in rural areas get better access to medical services, the first location for a new telehealth pilot program.

WHY IT MATTERS
The store, located in Asheboro, North Carolina, is part of a public-private affiliation whereby Walmart donated equipment and space allowing Veterans to meet with a VA provider in a private room through video technology.

It’s all part of the VA’s Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations, or ATLAS, services initiative, which will provide clinical services – which the VA notes will vary by location – including primary care, nutrition, mental health and social work.

Other telehealth pilot sites are located in Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, and the VA noted there were more than 1.3 million video telehealth encounters with more than 490,000 Veterans last year.

In addition to Walmart, ATLAS sites are currently located at American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Posts, allowing Vets to connect through the VA Video Connect platform.

It’s part of the VA’s Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations, or ATLAS, initiative, which will provide clinical services including primary care, mental health and social work.

The app also works on a wide range of device that have an Internet connection and a web camera, including Windows-based PCs and laptops, Windows mobile devices, iOS mobile devices and Android mobile devices.

The VA has also been working with companies like T-Mobile and Philips to pave the way for additional telehealth services for Vets.

THE LARGER TREND
Despite the department’s advances in telehealth services, Veterans Health Administration medical facilities are facing an enormous challenge as they scan and enter medical documentation into patients’ electronic health records.

According to an audit from the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA medical facilities have a cumulative medical document backlog equivalent to more than five miles of stacked paper, with nearly 600,000 electronic files dating back to 2016.

Continue on to Healthcare IT News to read the complete article.

Service Dogs: A Solution to The Veteran Suicide Crisis

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By Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO, American Humane

The number of military service members and veterans in the United States is declining, but their suicide rates are increasing.

It’s clear that addressing the military and veteran suicide epidemic will take bold new solutions beyond marginal improvements to the status quo. All ideas to protect these brave men and women off the battlefield should be on the table.

One low-risk, high-reward potential solution is pairing combat vets with service dogs who are specially trained to mitigate post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, which commonly affect ex service members and contribute to suicide.

About 1 veteran in 6 suffers from PTSD. According to research in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety, 28 percent of those who reported a past traumatic event had attempted suicide. Another study found that those with TBI, which affects about the same portion of veterans, are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide.

There’s long been anecdotal evidence that service dogs can help treat these mental health afflictions.

Service dogs can be trained to perform countless tasks that mitigate these conditions, including retrieving medication, searching homes for perceived threats, grounding handlers during a stressful episode, aiding with memory-related tasks, and even turning on lights during a night terror.

Now emerging scientific research is also pointing to the promise that service dogs offer. A Purdue University study released last year found that veterans coping with PTSD performed better on a variety of mental health and emotional well-being metrics, including reduced symptoms of PTSD and depression if they were paired with a service dog. Veterans with service dogs also missed work less and performed better while there than their dogless counterparts.

A separate Purdue study also released last year measured the stress-mitigating hormone cortisol in PTSD veterans with and without service dogs. Those with service dogs produced more cortisol than those without, mimicking the amount expected in adults without PTSD. Those in the service dog group also reported less anger, less anxiety, and better sleep.

While these studies didn’t directly test those with TBI, its similar symptoms suggest significant promise for suicidal vets with this condition as well. Unfortunately, waiting lists for veterans in need of service dogs are long. The process is time-consuming and expensive, costing as much as $30,000 per dog. With the VA refusing to endorse service dogs as a PTSD and TBI treatment–while awaiting the results of its own in-depth study – funding is scarce.

In the meantime, nonprofit groups are doing what they can to fill the void. For instance, American Humane’s Pups4Patriots program finds dogs in need of homes and trains them to become service animals for military veterans struggling with the invisible wounds of war, potentially saving lives at both ends of the leash.

Dogs have always boosted emotional well-being. Now studies are confirming what veterans have been saying for years: Service dogs can have an even greater impact. With the veteran suicide rate rising unabated, it’s time to stop tinkering and pursue creative new solutions to this crisis.

Nothing has so much potential lifesaving impact as greater access to service dogs.

Source: American Humane

Suicides among U.S. Special Operations Command tripled in 2018 while suicides among active duty Marine Corps and the Navy reached a 10-year high. The veteran suicide rate is 50% higher than the general population, adjusting for age and gender.

The veteran suicide rate increased by 26% between 2005 and 2016, the latest year that data is available.

More than 6,000 veterans commit suicide each year.
Source: Department of Veterans Affairs

Treatments for PTSD

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PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

If thoughts and feelings from a life-threatening event are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.

Here’s the good news: you can get treatment for PTSD—and it works. For some people, treatment can get rid of PTSD altogether. For others, it can make symptoms less intense. Treatment also gives you the tools to manage symptoms so they don’t keep you from living your life. PTSD treatment can turn your life around—even if you’ve been struggling for years.

Therapy

PTSD therapy has three main goals:

  • Improve your symptoms
  • Teach you skills to deal with it
  • Restore your self-esteem

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Teaches you to reframe negative thoughts about the trauma. It involves talking with your provider about your negative thoughts and doing short writing assignments.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Teaches you how to gain control by facing your negative feelings. It involves talking about your trauma with a provider and doing some of the things you have avoided since the trauma.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Helps you process and make sense of your trauma. It involves calling the trauma to mind while paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone).

Stress Inoculation Training

Talk therapy that can help you recognize and change incorrect and/or negative thoughts that have been influencing your behavior. Coping skills are also used such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation training and role playing.

Alternative Treatments for Veterans With PTSD

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health programs offer alternative techniques with conventional therapies while many non-profit organizations throughout the country have seen improvement in vets through alternative measures.

These six alternative treatments are showing increased popularity for veterans with PTSD:

  1. Acupuncture—A 2014 study of 55 service members concluded that acupuncture “was effective for reducing PTSD symptoms.” Patients using acupuncture with traditional treatment “showed significantly greater improvements” over patients who had usual care only, the Healthcare Medicine Institute reported. Acupuncture appears to be a safe treatment to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, the researchers noted.
  1. Yoga and meditation—These practices have been used in the military and at VA medical centers, according to Social Work Today. Yoga helps to relieve pain and bring comfort throughout the body. Yoga and meditation need to fit the needs of patients who have experienced trauma, including the creation of a safe space to provide relaxation for an overactive nervous system.
  1. Service dogs—Bonding with animals provides benefits for veterans with PTSD. A program under Warrior Canine Connection has vets with the disorder training service dogs for fellow vets afflicted with physical injuries. It provides veterans with companionship but also results in stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, and improved relationships.
  1. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)—A self-healing method, it combines cognitive therapy and exposure therapy, which exposes patients to anxiety sources without causing any danger, with acupressure on points throughout the body. One controlled trial found more than 85 percent of veterans with PTSD had no obvious symptoms after six sessions of EFT, according to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.
  1. Swimming with sea creatures—Dolphin swims are enjoyable for the population at large, but they are also used as alternative treatments for vets with PTSD. At the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, veterans swim with whale sharks and are accompanied by dive masters in a huge tank, The New York Times The sharks get their name from their immense size and mainly eat plankton. The quiet underwater environment helps vets forget bad memories.
  1. Outdoor therapies—Horseback riding, hiking, and rafting are among activities that can help vets overcome symptoms of PTSD. The Rites of Passage Ranch Long Term Care Program in Washington state combines cognitive behavioral therapy with relaxation exercises, physical activity, and healthy food.

You’re not alone

Going through a traumatic event is not rare. At least half of Americans have had a traumatic event in their lives. Of people who have had trauma, about 1 in 10 men and 2 in 10 women will develop PTSD. There are some things that make it more likely you’ll develop PTSD — for example, having very intense or long-lasting trauma, getting hurt, or having a strong reaction to the event (like shaking, throwing up, or feeling distant from your surroundings). It’s also more common to develop PTSD after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault. But there’s no way to know for sure who will develop PTSD.

Where can I go to get help?

If you’re a Veteran, check with the VA about whether you can get treatment there. Visit va.gov/directory/guide/PTSD.asp to find a VA PTSD program near you. If you’re looking for care outside the VA, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health care provider who specializes in PTSD treatment, or visit findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to search for providers in your area.

Get Help If You’re in Crisis
If you feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else:
• Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) anytime to talk to a crisis counselor. Press “1” if you are a Veteran. The call is confidential (private) and free.
• Chat online with a crisis counselor anytime at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
You can also call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

For more information and resources visit the National Center for PTSD website at: ptsd.va.gov

Find out about PTSD and PTSD treatment from Veterans who’ve been there at: ptsd.va.gov/aboutface

7 stress resources Veterans can use right now

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As a Veteran, you might experience difficult life events or challenges after leaving the military. The VA is here to help no matter how big or small the problem may be.

VA’s resources address the unique stressors and experiences that Veterans face — and we’re just a click, call, text, or chat away.

Seven mental health resources Veterans can use right now

  1. Just show up to any VA Medical Center. Did you know that VA offers same day services in Primary Care and Mental Health at 172 VA Medical Centers across the country? VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has made Same-Day 24/7 access to emergency mental health care the top clinical priority for VA staff. “It’s important that all Veterans, their family and friends know that help is easily available.” Now, all 172 VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) provide Same-Day Mental Health Care services. If a Veteran is in crisis or has need for immediate mental health care, he or she will receive immediate attention from a health care professional. To find VA locations near you, explore the facility locator tool.
  2. Make the Connection is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members, friends and other supporters with information and solutions to issues affecting their lives. On the website, visitors can watch hundreds of Veterans share their stories of strength and recovery, read about a variety of life events and mental health topics, and locate nearby resources.
  3. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and text messaging service. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. Vet Centers provide community-based counseling for a wide range of social and psychological services, including confidential readjustment counseling, outreach and referral to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components and their families. It offers individual, group, marriage and family counseling. And you can get a referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services at no cost. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.
  5. Coaching Into Care provides guidance to Veterans’ family members and friends on encouraging a Veteran they care about to reach out for mental health support. Free, confidential assistance is available by calling 1-888-823-7458, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or by emailing CoachingIntoCare@va.gov.
  6. The Veteran Training online self-help portal provides tools for overcoming everyday challenges. The portal has tools to help Veterans work on problem-solving skills, manage anger, develop parenting skills, and more. All tools are free. Its use is entirely anonymous, and they are based on mental health practices that have proven successful with Veterans and their families.
  7. AboutFace features stories of Veterans who have experienced PTSD, their family members, and VA clinicians. There, you can learn about PTSD, explore treatment options, and get advice from others who have been there.

Learn more

For more information about VA’s mental health resources and behavioral health services, please visit VA’s Mental Health Services website at MentalHealth.va.gov, or the Vet Center website (for combat Veterans) at www.vetcenter.va.gov. For a more detailed view of VA mental health service offerings, explore the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Guidebook.

Kean University Student-Veteran Receives K-9 Service Dog

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K-9 Keen and Jason Pryor stand outside in a group photos with student body members

Jason Pryor of Elizabeth received the K-9, named Keen, as a gift from the Kean Office of Student Government.

A special Veterans Day ceremony was held on Kean University’s Union campus as senior Jason Pryor, a U.S. Army veteran, introduced the K-9 service dog that he received through an on-campus fundraiser.

Pryor, a senior from Elizabeth majoring in exercise science, did tours in Iraq and Honduras and suffers from PTSD. He received the K-9, named Keen, at the start of the Fall semester as a gift from the Kean Office of Student Government.

“Being with Keen has taught me to be more patient,” said Pryor, whose dog accompanies him to class. “Keen is used as a measure to help prevent me from going through the symptoms and effects of spiraling down, by me tending to his needs and having him tend to me.”

Kean is ranked first in the nation among large public schools for its programs supporting student-veterans, according to the Military Friendly Schools survey.

Student Government raised nearly $20,000 to support service dogs through Rebuilding Warriors, a volunteer non-profit organization whose mission is to provide trained service dogs to veterans. The bulk of the funds raised went toward training Pryor’s dog, and the rest was donated to Rebuilding Warriors to help train other K-9 dogs.

At the ceremony held outside Miron Student Center, Vito Zajda, director of Veteran Student Services at Kean and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, called Pryor a remarkable student.

“He has been a big support and influential person in our program,” Zajda said. “He has helped open our eyes about how the University can best support its vets.”

Vice President of Rebuilding Warriors Jeff Mullins, also a veteran, said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can’t be seen by others. ”It’s invisible, stays with you your entire life, and it’s not easy sometimes,” he said. “Our goal is to provide veterans and first responders with a service dog to help them achieve their new normal.”

The University’s Veterans Day event included a color guard, a performance of the national anthem by the Kean Gospel Choir, and the presentation of other honors.

Juan Leon Torres, a senior from Spotswood also studying exercise science and a U.S. Navy veteran, received the 2019 Kean Veteran’s Award for OutstandingK-9 Keen service dog to U.S. Army Veteran pictured sitting next to his new owner Mentor. He develops transition opportunities and initiatives, and mentors a student-veteran each semester.

“Being a veteran and going back to school is super hard because you go from one community to a different lifestyle,” Torres said.

Zajda noted that it is important to support veterans at all times. “The importance of Veterans Day is to recognize that it’s 365 days a year, as veterans go through different highs and lows in their lives,” he said.

K-9 Keen, the service dog accompanying student-veteran Jason Pryor (pictured at top, left of center, in red shirt), is part of the Kean University community. The Kean Office of Student Government raised funds to donate the dog.

About Kean University

Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit kean.edu.

Gillette SkinGuard For Military: Protecting the Skin of Those Who Protect Us

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Gillette SkinGuard_RazorPack

Following the Navy’s recent policy changes in regards to its shaving guidelines, Gillette has a solution for those of your readers who have experienced chronic skin conditions like PFB as a result of mandatory shaving while in the service.

As a part of Gillette’s commitment to helping every man be the best they can be, we are making more than 40,000 complimentary SkinGuard razor samples available to active and retired service members who want to try this razor that was specifically designed to protect their skin from irritation– and feel the difference for themselves.

Servicemen can visit Gillette.com/military if they’re interested in a product sample.

The Gillette SkinGuard Razor is clinically proven for sensitive skin and specifically designed to reduce the symptoms generally associated with PFB such as razor bumps and irritation.

Results from a recent clinical study revealed that the incidence of men’s razor bumps were reduced on average by 60 percent after 12-weeks daily shaving with Gillette SkinGuard.

What You Need To Know About VA Dental Benefits

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veteran in uniform smiling

By Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com)

Dental care for veterans can be confusing and difficult to navigate. As a dentist for over 20 years, and a veteran myself, I’ve talked with dozens of veterans who didn’t understand or know what types of benefits they deserve. To aid with that, I’ve put together this article which will hopefully help veterans understand and utilize the benefits they have earned.

What Type Of Care Can I Expect

The care you receive largely depends on which class you qualify for, but generally looks to treat and deal with serious issues. Certain classes might only receive care related to other qualifying health issues, while some classes can receive any dental care needed. That’s why it’s important to understand which class you fall into as each one varies in which types of procedures are covered.

Dental Care Classes

Probably the thing that trips up the most veterans the is the wide range of classes that make one eligible for dental benefits. Each of these has their own specific requirements, so read over them carefully to see which class you might fit into.

I: If you have a service related dental condition or disability then you are eligible for any dental care that is needed.

II: You can receive one time care if you:

-Did not receive a dental examination upon discharge

-Were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable

-Apply to receive care with 180 days of discharge

IIA: If you have a non-compensable, service related condition that is the result of combat wounds you are eligible for all care to keep your mouth healthy.

IIB: If you are a homeless veteran receiving care under VHA directive 2007-039 then you are eligible for select care procedures to treat major infections, relieve pain, secure employment, or treat severe gum disease.

IIC: If you were a former prisoner of war you are eligible for any dental care needed.

III: If a VA dental care provider determines you have a dental issue linked to a service related health condition, and that health condition makes the dental issue worse, you can receive treatment for the issue.

IV: If you have a service related injury that is rated as 100% disabling you are eligible for any care needed. Note this doesn’t include situations where the 100% rating is only temporary.

V: If you are part of a VA vocational rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 then you can receive dental care that makes participating in and successfully meeting the goals of the program possible.

VI: If you are receiving VA care for an issue that is being made worse by an oral issue you can receive treatment for that oral issue.

This is a pretty big list, and it’s okay to be a bit confused on where you fit in. When in doubt, you can always contact your local VA, and they’ll be happy to guide you through the process and see what care you might be eligible for.

Other Dental Care Options

Unfortunately, not all veterans will be eligible for care under these rules. While that can be disheartening to hear, there are many other options that can help make dental care easier to receive and more affordable to non-VA care eligible veterans.

One of the more popular options is the National VA Dental Insurance Program. This is insurance specially offered to veterans, and it’s offered at a reduced price as compared to traditional insurances. This can help cut down both your monthly premiums as well as co-pays, which can make dental care much more affordable.

sign that says veteran benefitsThere are also a number of dentists that offer reduced or sometimes even free services to veterans. This depends on where you live, but it’s not a bad idea to do a little research for veteran friendly dentists in your area. You can also reach out to your local VA as they may be able to point you in the right direction.

While dental benefits can be difficult to navigate as a veteran, it’s very important to keep up with your oral health. I’ve mentioned your local VA a few times, and that’s because they are a great resource for determining your eligibility and utilizing your benefits. Keep them in mind as you look over your benefits, and never be afraid to reach out with any questions.

Operation 11/11 Gives Veterans Concierge- Level Health Care at No Cost on Veterans Day

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Medici, a virtual health care company, recently announced the launch of Operation 11/11, a new initiative providing virtual consults across multiple specialties to all U.S. veterans on Veterans Day, November 11.

During Operation 11/11, all veterans who register at Medici will have access to text, voice or video consultations with doctors specializing in general practice, psychiatry, dermatology, orthopedics and more. With this access, veterans can receive expert advice, diagnosis, prescriptions or referrals to other specialists. Proof of military service is required, although health insurance is not needed.

“Veterans Day is not about furniture and car sales. It is about recognizing the extraordinary service of our veterans,” says Clint Phillips, founder and CEO of Medici. “We can think of no better way to thank our veterans than to provide them with concierge-level care across multiple specialties without leaving their homes.”

Access to care will be provided using Medici’s simple-to-use virtual care app, which connects users directly with doctors. Veterans can pre-register now at https://www.medici.md/veterans for zero cost across multiple specialties on Veterans Day from 8 am to 8 pm for each U.S. time zone.

Military heroes support Operation 11/11

In addition to announcing Operation 11/11, Medici is welcoming four military heroes as advisors of the new initiative, including:

  • Marcus Luttrell, former Navy SEAL who received the Navy Red Cross and Purple Heart for his actions in June 2005 against Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings;
  • Mark Geist, United States Marine and member of the Annex Security team that fought the Battle of Benghazi;
  • Rob O’Neill, member of Seal Team Six who is believed to be the man who fired the shot which killed Osama Bin Laden and
  • Omar Avila, a former military member who was hit by an IED in Iraq and had two-thirds of his body burned and remains one of the world’s strongest athletes.

“Having these military heroes come alongside us and tell us that the work we are doing is life-changing is all the validation we needed to dedicate all our resources to this initiative,” said Phillips. “Operation 11/11 allows us and hundreds of remarkable doctors the opportunity to give back to those who deserve it most.”

Medici has also partnered with 2nd.MD, which provides access to the world’s leading specialists across 130 subspecialties at the top U.S. hospitals. A limited number of veterans with complex cases will be able to have virtual second opinions thanks to 2nd.MD.

About Medici

Medici is working to change how health care is delivered by recreating the doctor-patient relationship. With the secure messaging app, physicians and patients can connect via text, call or video from anywhere and on their schedule. This enables patients to chat with their doctor, vet or therapist at any time, and clinicians to extend care and get paid without extra overhead or burdensome schedules. With over 20,000 doctors across all platforms, Medici is leading the way in the future of health care. For more information, visit http://www.medici.md.

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Third Annual Marriage Retreat

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combat wounded veteran pictured with family outdoors

The Heroes Freedom Weekend is a 3-4 day relaxing marriage enrichment retreat for combat wounded veteran couples.

The primary goal is strengthening the bonds of marriage for Veteran couples who have so much additional stress in their lives due to physical and mental wounds from war.

Along with the couples who attend, we see so much value in the efficacy of our program, helping to avoid situations that include divorce, custody battles, depression and often suicide or attempted suicide. A strong marriage acts as a pillar of support in the life of a wounded veteran, to allow him/her to survive, recover and rebuild.

A recent study showed that suicide rates in the military were highest among people divorced or separated — with a rate of 19 per 100,000 — 24% higher than troops who are single. It also showed that relationship problems are a common occurrence preceding suicide. showing that 39.5 percent of suicide attempt cases had experienced a failed relationship within 90 days of the suicide event. Primarily these involved romantic partners, but also included close friends and family.

Combat wounded veterans sit with spouses in a meeting room to discuss marital issues

The HFW19 implements the Warriors to Soulmate Program which:

Warrior to Soul Mate (W2SM) is a program that:

  • Aids in helping Warriors reconnect with their spouse.
    • Works to help spouses understand the emotional toll military service can take.
      • Improves communication techniques to reduce conflict in a healthy manner.
      • Helps to restore the bond between soul mates.
      • Teaches couples how to reclaim the love they once shared.
      • Provides a plan for how to renew a life together.

Due to the success of our previous marriage retreats and other programs, we are stretched thin with our number of wounded veterans applying for help. With support from donors and sponsors, we’re working to bring in 12+ Wounded veteran couples to help strengthen and enrich their marriages.

combat wounded veteran sitting outdoors with familyThe retreat will take place from Nov 1-4 (Fri – Mon) in Colonial Williamsburg Virginia. For more information, please click here.

This event would also give us a great opportunity to update the face of the invisibly wounded veteran family, which make up 90% of the 200 applications we’re now getting each month.

For more information regarding supporting this events, we are still in need of sponsorship, gift-in-kind donations and volunteers. Please contact ddaughenbaugh@saluteheroes.org to learn more.

Gary Sinise To Host Hope For The Warriors 10th Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala

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Award-winning actor/humanitarian Gary Sinise will host Hope For The Warriors 10th Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala Thursday, Oct. 17 at Union Station in Washington, DC.

Sinise’s portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump” formed a connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community. After several USO handshake tours in 2003, Sinise formed the “Lt. Dan Band” in early 2004 and began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad.

In 2011, Sinise established the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs that entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities. Of its many outreach efforts, the Gary Sinise Foundation is building custom Smart Homes for severely wounded veterans, serving hearty meals to deploying troops and hosting spirit-boosting festivals for patients, families and medical staff at military hospitals.

Hope For The Warriors has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to help its R.I.S.E. program provide adaptive homes to combat-wounded veterans. Hope For The Warriors’ Make a House a Home program offers grants to enhance the homes by incorporating hobbies, in-home businesses and other life passions that personalize the space for the individual/family.

Gary Sinise professional headshot
Gary Sinise will host Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala

Joining Sinise as co-host is retired U.S. Marine Col. Barney Barnum Jr. Barnum served 27 years in the United States Marine Corps and was the fourth Marine to receive the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the annual event honors members of our nation’s armed forces and their families with the Vigiano Family Hope & Courage Awards. In addition, Hope For The Warriors will introduce six new awards highlighting individuals, corporations and organizations who have stood beside the organization in serving military families.

This year’s gala honors the memory of John Vigiano (1938-2018). A longtime Hope For The Warriors volunteer and supporter, Vigiano and his family have lived a life of service. Vigiano, a former Marine, retired as decorated FDNY fire captain. Despite his record of service, Vigiano was most proud of his family and the paths his two sons chose: John Jr., a FDNY firefighter, and Joe, a NYPD detective, both losing their lives in the 9/11 attacks.

“As we embark on the 10th Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala, we’re honored to have Gary Sinise and Col. Barnum host such a memorable night honoring John Vigiano,” said Robin Kelleher, Hope For The Warriors co-founder and president. “Each year we honor service members and military family members who have demonstrated both hope and courage in the face of extraordinary circumstances. Being that John Vigiano and Gary Sinise have the same passion and profound respect for those who serve, we couldn’t have a more perfect host to help us honor John’s legacy while celebrating the night’s honorees.”

For more information on attending, sponsoring or donating to the 10th Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala, visit hopeforthewarriors.org.

About Hope For The Warriors: 

Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post 9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 23,200 through a variety of support programs focused on clinical health and wellness, sports and recreation and transition. One of the nonprofit’s first programs, Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships, has awarded over 135 scholarships to caregivers and families of the fallen. In addition, Run For The Warriors has captured the hearts of over 25,500 since 2010. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Roche Partners with iHeartMedia to Present ‘iHeartCountry One Night For Our Military’ Concert to Bring Further Awareness of The Impact Diabetes Has On The Nation’s Veteran Population

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Event poster for the Roche veterans diabetes awareness concert

The Second Annual Concert Will Feature Performances from Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini and the evening’s host Scotty McCreery.

Event Will Broadcast Nationwide On Veteran’s Day From The Country Music Hall of Fame, Honoring The One In Four Veterans Living With Diabetes In The U.S.

Roche recently announced that it has again partnered with iHeartMedia, the number one audio company in the United States, to present the iHeartCountry One Night For Our Military concert on Thursday, November 7,[1] at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. In recognition of National Diabetes Month, and the one in four U.S. veterans living with the chronic condition, the exclusive event will include performances by Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini and the evening’s host Scotty McCreery.

The iconic venue will be filled with American heroes from across the nation, and the performance will broadcast across iHeartRadio’s Country stations nationwide and livestream exclusively on LiveXLive.com at 7 p.m. local time on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11.

 “With diabetes on the rise and affecting nearly 25 percent of the VA’s patient population,[2] this sponsorship fits our mission of helping people with diabetes live more active and unrestricted lives,” said Matt Logan, Vice President of Marketing, Roche Diabetes Care.As a proud Military Friendly® Employer,[3] the iHeartCountry One Night For Our Military partnership allows us to celebrate our servicemen and women while simultaneously raising much-needed awareness about diabetes among the military population.”

In support of this event, Roche is proud to partner with the American Red Cross to donate comfort kits to our military abroad.  Deployed troops will receive much-needed items, including healthy snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and other toiletries. “Our nation’s military needs the comforts of home while they are so valiantly protecting our freedom,” said Jeff Imel, Manager of Service to the Armed Forces and International Services for the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross. “We are grateful that Roche has recognized this need and is providing hundreds of comfort kits to our brave military members.”

“iHeartMedia has long been committed to honoring the men and women who have served our country by using our diverse platforms to address the most pressing issues facing our military. Over the years we have invested heavily in their transition from the military back into civilian life,” said Rod Phillips, EVP Programming for iHeartCountry. “iHeartCountry One Night For Our Military Concert is a natural extension of our deep commitment to our military and an opportunity to celebrate our service members while bringing attention to the high prevalence of diabetes among the military population.”

To learn more, visit accu-chek.com.

About the Indiana Region of the American Red Cross:
The Indiana Region serves 87 counties statewide through its six chapter areas: Central, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and Greater Indianapolis (Regional Headquarters). For more information on the Indiana Region: redcross.org/indiana. Follow the Indiana Region on Twitter at: @INRedCross, on Instagram at: @indianaredcross or www.facebook.com/INRedCross.

About American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms including more than 850 live broadcast stations; streaming music, radio and on demand via its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices including smart speakers, digital auto dashes, tablets, wearables, smartphones, virtual assistants, TVs and gaming consoles; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher globally. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics and attribution technology for its marketing partners, using data from its massive consumer base. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: IHRT). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.

About Roche Diabetes Care

Roche Diabetes Care is pioneering innovative diabetes technologies and services for more than 40 years. Being a global leader in integrated diabetes management, more than 5,000 employees in over 100 markets worldwide work every day to support people with diabetes and those at risk to achieve more time in their target range and experience true relief from the daily therapy routines. Roche Diabetes Care collaborates with caregivers, healthcare providers and payers to optimally manage this complex condition and contribute to sustainable care structures. Under the brand Accu-Chek and in collaboration with partners, Roche Diabetes Care creates value by providing integrated solutions to monitor glucose levels, deliver insulin and track as well as contextualize relevant data points for a successful therapy. By establishing a leading open ecosystem, connecting devices, digital solutions, Roche Diabetes Care will enable optimal personalised diabetes management and thus improve therapy outcomes. Since 2017, mySugr with its world-leading mobile diabetes management app and services is part of Roche Diabetes Care. For more information, please visit www.accu-chek.com and mysugr.com.

About Roche
Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.  Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Moreover, for the tenth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as the most sustainable company in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2018 employed about 94,000 people worldwide. In 2018, Roche invested CHF 11 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 56.8 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit roche.com.