Promoting Relief - Bob Woodruff Foundation

Promoting Relief

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For our veterans and their families who are grappling with PTSD, and the clinicians training to treat these invisible wounds, the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Got Your 6!

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most prevalent and critical health issues facing veterans after their service has concluded. PTSD may manifest differently in each individual, but it can be debilitating across the board. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of community mental health care providers are trained specifically in treating PTSD with evidence-based treatment.

STRONG STAR is working hard to address this critical need, aided by grants from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). They are training mental health providers across the country to expand availability of evidence-based treatment for those suffering from PTSD. The training can be done online, and letting clinicians across the country take what they learn and apply it in their communities. This allows for the provision of evidence-based PTSD treatment anywhere across the United States, not just in large metropolitan areas. With the support of the Qatar Harvey Fund, BWF has also supported STRONG STAR in expanding this clinician training across the Texas Gulf Coast.

The STRONG STAR Training Initiative launched in Texas in 2017, and offers veteran-serving mental health providers competency-based training in evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for PTSD.

“Through BWF’s generous funding and partnership, the Training Initiative has been able to increase community-level access to EBTs for PTSD for veterans seeking services,” Dr. Katy Dondanville, Program Director of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative, told BWF. “To date, we have trained over 1000 providers across 26 states. Funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation has also supported the expansion of our provider portal – a centralized resource center for providers learning EBTs for PTSD.”

One clinician trained through the STRONG STAR program, Dr. Brandon Waters, has witnessed the benefits of the initiative up close.

“PTSD not only impacts the individual but their entire family,” Waters said. “I treated a patient who would watch his grandchildren play in the backyard but never joined them. As he was going through treatment, he was able to break this habit and became directly involved. He started playing with them and not only did he feel better, but it impacted his grandchildren in a very positive way.”

Dr. Katy Dondanville of STRONG STAR, Dr. Margaret Harrell of BWF, and Dr. Alan Peterson of STRONG STAR at the 2019 Combat PTSD Conference