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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Futures Recovery Healthcare Launches Military Veteran and First Responder Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program

September 24, 2020 GMT

TEQUESTA, Fla., Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Futures Recovery Healthcare, a behavioral healthcare provider in Tequesta, Florida, launches the Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program to treat military veterans and first responders for trauma, mental health, and substance use disorders. Military personnel, police, firefighters, emergency medical providers, and other frontline workers are at high-risk for anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and face epidemic rates of suicide. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, thirty percent of first responders develop mental health and substance use problems. The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports 16.8 veteran suicides daily — 1.5 times more than non-veterans. The Ruderman Family Foundation finds that police and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

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Although behavioral health problems and suicide are endemic to military and first responder communities, fear of job loss, difficulty trusting others, deeply ingrained cultural stigma, and a lack of specialized care providers makes it hard for these professionals to seek treatment. Futures Recovery Healthcare created a panel of expert veterans, advocates, and researchers called the Hero’s Ascent Advisory Board to ensure that its program is relevant, effective, and overcomes the barriers that prevent military veterans and first responders from accessing care. Hero’s Ascent Advisory Board members are actively involved with the treatment program and provide counsel, education, and guidance to the program’s clinicians and patients.

The Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program is designed to help military veterans and first responders feel safe and addresses one of their most challenging mental health threats — untreated trauma. Career military and first responders are exposed to deaths, injuries, domestic violence, catastrophic situations, and other adverse events that, if left unprocessed, can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Untreated PTSD can cause mental health conditions and substance misuse, marital and family problems, sleeplessness, impassivity, and other adverse effects. Unaddressed trauma can also prove deadly.

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“Our military veterans and first responders need to feel safe, able to trust their caregivers, and confident that treatment is designed to meet their needs,” explains Cynthia Goss, a Hero’s Ascent Program team member. Goss has 30 years of experience as a military and first responder mental health educator. “As policymakers and treatment providers, we need to educate members of these professions to overcome common misperceptions that allow trauma and mental health problems go untreated for too long,” says Goss. “Military members and first responders need to know mandatory reporting requirements do not mean automatic job loss for receiving mental healthcare. These are people trained to be objective skeptics for whom trust must be earned. They need to be able to believe that their caregivers truly understand what they have gone through and can truly help them process their traumatic experiences, and that treatment is effective,” says Goss. “We also need to challenge the antiquated notion that these professionals should keep their traumatic experiences to themselves, an idea that pervades military and first responder cultures. Asking for help should be accepted and encouraged, not seen as a sign of weakness.”

The Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program is situated on a private, gated, ten-acre treatment campus, and anonymity and confidentiality are prioritized to help patients feel at ease. Experienced, licensed staff members are trained to meet the needs of first responders and military veterans. Many have family and friends in uniform and understand the challenges inherent to these professions. The program uses evidence-based therapies and personalized care plans that coordinate medical treatment, trauma therapy, psychiatry, individual and group psychotherapy, physical therapy, wellness services, and neurostimulation. Family involvement is an integral part of the program. Family members receive therapy and education to address their mental health needs and learn to support their loved one’s well-being and recovery.

Kate Polk, RMHC-I, NCC, MA, an experienced clinician and US Army, Military Police veteran, recently joined the Hero’s Ascent Team as a Primary Therapist and Peer Advocate. Polk was thrust into a leadership role following the events of September 11, 2001. As a young captain overseeing force protection for an infantry brigade, Polk saw how the uncertainty, stress, and loss of deployment take a toll on individuals and families. “There is no greater honor than to be able to relate to a warrior seeking connection in their darkest times. If my experience as a soldier allows me to establish a basis of understanding and trust with my patients, my work as a caregiver will be more effective. For me, this is a dream come true, a program that gives heroes the specialized help they need.”

In addition to its Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program, Futures Recovery Healthcare supports first responder and military communities with training, webinars, retreats, and symposiums. Cynthia Goss and Hero’s Ascent Advisory Board members provide mental health and trauma-awareness training to military branches and first responder agencies nationwide. They hold monthly webinars that invite leadership and rank and file to explore a range of issues that affect our nation’s heroes’ and their family members’ health and well-being. The program sponsors a three-day Post Critical Incident Stress retreat called “From Trauma to Resiliency” that provides education, trauma therapy, and outplacement services to first responders and military veterans affected by trauma facilitated by Hero’s Ascent Advisory Board member Dr. Roger Solomon. The organization also sponsors an international symposium on law enforcement and first responder stress, PTSD, and suicide, an annual event that unites the nation’s leading first-responder and military mental health advocates to discuss individual, organizational, and policy solutions to the problems of trauma, addiction, and suicide.

Launching the Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program continues a legacy of helping those who serve. GMH Associates, the parent company of Futures Recovery Healthcare, was a national leader in developing and managing high-quality military housing for service members around the country. Having developed, renovated, and built new housing on more than forty military installations across the country from 1998 to 2008, GMH is thrilled to be giving back to the military and first responder community with a program focused on mental health.

For more information about the Futures Recovery Healthcare Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program, please contact Cynthia Goss at cgoss@futuresrecoveryhealthcare.com.

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SOURCE Futures Recovery Healthcare