SpeechVive now available for Parkinson’s patients in 20 VA medical facilities nationwide

LinkedIn

SpeechVive Inc. announced the completion of the 20th VA Medical Center training for the use of the SpeechVive device.  SpeechVive is an ear-worn technology that immediately improves speech loudness, clarity, and rate for people with Parkinson’s disease.

By using an automatic cue to speak louder in a noisy environment, SpeechVive aids people with a condition called “hypophonia” or “soft voice,” which causes Parkinson’s patients to speak in a hushed, whispery or even a hoarse voice. This condition can impair the ability for people with Parkinson’s to communicate effectively.  It is estimated that as many as 90% of people with Parkinson’s disease experience speech and voice changes while only 3-4% are referred for speech therapy to address it.

The clinical data collected from a multisite clinical trial demonstrates that SpeechVive is effective in 90 percent of the people using the device. “Our team is working diligently to train speech pathologists in VA medical centers, giving them a new tool to use when helping veterans with Parkinson’s disease,” said Ashleigh Lambert, CCC-SLP, is a speech language pathologist and the clinical manager for SpeechVive.

Veterans with Parkinson’s disease can be seen by a speech pathologist at their VA to see if SpeechVive is appropriate for them.  The VA considers SpeechVive a prosthetic device and provides it to veterans free of charge.

More than 1.5 million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s and it is one of the most common degenerative neurological diseases.

VA Facilities offering SpeechVive include:

  • Cincinnati VA Medical Center
  • Cleveland VA Medical Center
  • Maine VA Medical Center, Augusta
  • Salem VA Medical Center
  • Madison VA Medical Center
  • Tampa VA Medical Center
  • Brooklyn VA Medical Center
  • St. Albans VA Medical Center
  • New York City VA Medical Center
  • VA North Texas Medical Center, Dallas
  • VA South Texas Medical Center, Kerrville
  • VA Puget Sound, Seattle
  • VA Puget Sound, American Lake
  • Phoenix VA Healthcare System
  • San Francisco VA Healthcare System
  • Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System, New Orleans
  • VA Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain
  • VA Medical Center Honolulu
  • Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks, Fayetteville
  • Veterans Home, South Paris, Maine
  • VA West Palm Beach, Florida

About SpeechVive

SpeechVive is a Lafayette, Ind.-based corporation formed in 2011. The company is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with speech problems due to Parkinson’s and other diseases by enabling people to speak more loudly and communicate more effectively with their loved ones. www.speechvive.com

Help Heal Veterans Hosts #VigilforValor to Honor Military Lost to War and Suicide

LinkedIn
Veteran with PTSD sitting down with hands folded

Help Heal Veterans (Heal Vets) will host a month-long virtual candlelight vigil in May to honor service members who have fallen in battle and military members who served honorably in war and fell victim to suicide later due to the invisible scars of combat.

Help Heal Veterans is a nonprofit that provides free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to veterans and active duty military who are suffering from the physical, psychological and emotional wounds of war, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

#VigilforValor kicks off May 1, the start of Mental Health Awareness month, and concludes on May 31, Memorial Day. The United States has suffered more than 100,000 military casualties of war since 1950, and in the last 10 years we’ve lost more than 65,000 veterans to suicide.

“Our hope is to shine a light on the remarkable lives of those who have been lost,” said Joe McClain, retired Navy captain and Help Heal Veterans CEO. “Often times we honor the war dead as a group and not as individuals. This year, we want to give people an opportunity to learn about the remarkable lives represented by people who have paid the ultimate price for this country.”

Participants in #VigilforValor will:

1. Create a candleholder, either of their own design or one made from a kit provided by Help Heal Veterans for a $20 donation. (Note: a large number of candle kits will be provided free of charge to select veterans/active-duty service members).
2. Customize the candleholder for the individual they wish to honor with a photograph, drawing, patch or other item. Those who don’t have someone in particular they wish to remember are encouraged to reach out in their community, school, church or search local news to find someone to honor.
3. Light a candle and share a picture of it along with their story on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #VigilforValor so we may pay tribute to them together.

For 50 years, Help Heal Veterans has been using craft therapy to help veterans and active-duty military heal the invisible wounds of war.

“We have seen first-hand the healing power of crafting,” said McClain, “and it has been especially important over the past year, when isolation placed an extra burden on recovering veterans and military and the usual sources of support were not always available or accessible.”

Studies show that crafting can provide therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits, including improving fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, memory and dexterity, and can help alleviate feelings of anger and the severity of negative behaviors triggered by PTSD and TBIs.

To learn more about Heal Vets and the organization’s COVID-19 efforts, as well as find out how you can help, visit HealVets.org.

Veterans who are in a crisis and need support can go to https://www.veteranscrisisline.net or call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

About Help Heal Veterans
First established in 1971, Help Heal Veterans has provided free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to hospitalized and homebound veterans for generations. These craft kits help injured and recuperating veterans improve fine motor skills, cognitive functioning, manage stress and substance abuse, cope with symptoms of PTSD and TBI, while also improving their sense of self-esteem and overall physical and mental health. Most of these kits are developed, manufactured and packaged for delivery at our production center headquartered in Winchester, California. Since inception, Help Heal Veterans has delivered nearly 31 million of these arts and crafts kits to veterans and veteran facilities nationwide, along with active duty military overseas.

Air Force Airman Creates Better Covid Response

LinkedIn
two women both wearing masks are talking in an office

It’s been said that a crisis can be viewed from two aspects – that of danger and another for opportunity.

Over the past several months, COVID-19 has transformed business practices, social gatherings and patient care processes. While many of these changes are an expansion of technology, innovation has proven critical.

Only weeks after arriving at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, and less than a year after enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Tara Somers, a medical technician at LRMC’s Internal Medicine Clinic, found herself with the opportunity to help shape response efforts to COVID-19.

Somers, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, was handpicked from her peers to develop an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) Clinic within the Internal Medicine Clinic patient population, some of which include high-risk patients.

Photo Caption: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Tara Somers (right), medical technician, Internal Medicine Clinic, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, assesses a patient during routine operations at the Internal Medicine Clinic. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and identify potential positive patients, Somers’ innovative efforts were key in developing clinic processes that enhanced care and increased safety at the clinic.

“Somers has truly taken this task head-on and poured her heart into it,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Hilary Sellar, noncommissioned officer in charge, Internal Medicine Clinic. “She designed a 24-step algorithm for staff to use when patients call the clinic with an URI or COVID-19 symptoms.”

In addition to outlining how staff would respond to potential COVID-19 patients, Somers, 22, also authored a telephone script, how-to-guide, and initiated a patient tracker for use in the clinic. Somers’ innovative efforts also help differentiate patients with URIs, commonly referred to as the common cold, and potential COVID-19 patients.

“[The process] also provides more complete care to our patients and makes them feel like they are being prioritized when they are feeling afraid in the middle of the pandemic,” said Somers.

The algorithm specifies what staff members should do from first contact with patients, whether in person or telephone, through patient admission or disposition if necessary.

According to Sellar, as the main clinic touchpoint, Somers’ contributions don’t stop inside the clinic but also extend to ease their patient experiences through efforts such as contacting patients with test results, assisting with follow-up care and delivering prescriptions to patients in their vehicles to avoid unnecessary exposure.

“I am the only technician in the clinic specifically taking on this task. This allows me to follow providers more closely, obtain more knowledge and understanding about the pandemic and the medical threats it presents to our patient population.” — U.S. Air Force, Airman 1st Class Tara Somers

“I love the fact that I am the ‘go-to’ for our clinic,” explains Somers. “When other providers, nurses, techs, or even patients have concerns, it feels good to know they have enough confidence in me to reach out for the answers and correct information or guidance.”

Although she is just beginning her military career, Somers’ ambition drives her to continue her education toward a nursing degree, in hopes of increased responsibility and impact in patient care.

“Somers demonstrates knowledge, leadership and selfless service above her grade, and moreover, a true dedication to our patients and LRMC staff,” said Sellar.

Source: Army.mil

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Launch Veteran Suicide Prevention and Advocacy Week

LinkedIn
Soldier sitting and talking to his therapist

In the second week of its six-week campaign, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is dedicating this week to its legislative goals and research on veteran suicide and mental health.

An average of 20 servicemembers and veterans die by suicide every day, and IAVA’s own research has found that 59 percent of members know a veteran that took their own life.

“Reducing the number of veterans that die by suicide has been a key concern for IAVA.”said Tom Porter, Executive VP for IAVA. “As members of the armed services, our veterans have experienced collective trauma as well as other unique challenges. Our federal government has a duty to provide the mental health support, resources, and accessible care to the servicemembers that have fought to defend our country. We are eager to work with Congress and the Biden administration to continue to address the pressing issue of veteran suicide.”

IAVA has made addressing veteran suicide a top priority for over a decade and worked alongside legislators to pass the bipartisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, the most comprehensive veteran suicide bill passed to date. This vital legislation includes much-needed updates related to transition assistance, mental health care, care for women veterans, and telehealth care as well as care for at-risk veterans who do not use the VA. We call on the House and Senate VA committees to exercise strong oversight on, and to work closely with newly confirmed VA Secretary McDonough and VSOs toward implementation of the new law.

Additionally, IAVA has advocated for the expansion of accessible mental health resources, including the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, enacted last year, which designated 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. This new IAVA-backed law will make it possible for all Americans in need, including veterans, to be connected with resources and care in seconds.

This year, IAVA will continue to advocate for the VA and all relevant government agencies to more aggressively fight the growing rates of veteran suicide, including implementation of the new aforementioned legislation. Learn more about IAVA’s work on mental health and suicide prevention here.

IAVA also provides free services to any veteran in need through its flagship program, the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), which offers 24/7 confidential peer-to-peer support, comprehensive care management and resource connections for veterans and their families. The full scope of the program and ways to connect to QRF can be found here.

IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation Releases Best Practices for Organizations Providing Emergency Assistance to Veteran and Military Families

LinkedIn
famility portrait of mom dad and two children smiling

The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic downturn have had a profound financial impact on millions of Americans, including our nation’s veterans and military families.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) quickly pivoted their 2020 grantmaking plans to get critical funding into the hands of their partners, enabling emergency financial assistance (EFA) for veterans when and where it was needed most. Based on insights gathered from their grantees, BWF has now released “Emergency Financial Assistance: Best Practices,” the latest issue in their Stand SMART for Heroes research series, to share key findings that can help organizations minimize risk and maximize impact for veterans and their families.

In April 2020, BWF released a pivotal research paper, “Veterans and COVID-19: Projecting the Economic, Social, and Mental Health Needs of America’s Veterans,” indicating that half of veterans between the ages of 25 and 44 had less than $3,000 to $4,000 in savings before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Additionally, 15% of veterans were employed in industries that were most likely to be impacted by the pandemic.

In anticipation of increased need, BWF leveraged their findings and expedited their 2020 grants to provide direct support to the military and veteran population during the pandemic, broadening their usual granting criteria to include applications from programs providing EFA. At the same time, BWF developed a survey to evaluate applicants for risk and professionalism. The results of that survey formed the basis for this latest research paper publication.

“Providing support to cover rent, groceries, home or vehicle repairs, or other unexpected expenses can help veterans maintain stability in the short term, so that they can thrive in the long term,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “By sharing what we’ve learned from our network through our latest issue of Stand SMART for Heroes, we’re shining a light on this urgent need while also providing an important resource to organizations that want to help.”
For more information, and for funders interested in supporting emergency financial assistance programs, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org/stand-smart-for-heroes/.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation:
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was wounded by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans, including suicide prevention, mental health, caregiver support, and food insecurity. To date, BWF has invested over $76 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members, and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.

Tens of thousands of veteran caregivers now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine through VA

LinkedIn
Hands of a doctor in latex gloves fill a syringe from vial of covid vaccine going to give an injection isolated on white

By Leo Shane lll
Military Times

Tens of thousands of caregivers providing critical medical support to disabled veterans will be eligible to receive coronavirus vaccine doses soon under a new policy announced by the Department of Veterans Affairs this week.

The move comes after a coalition of veterans groups lobbied for the caregivers to be pushed to the top of the vaccine list, arguing that they deserved to be included in the first wave of medical professionals being protected against the deadly illness.

In response, Dr. Richard Stone, executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, released a memo this week asserting that individuals registered with the department’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers can be given the vaccine “in a coordinated manner with the veterans for whom they provide care.”

More than 6,700 Veterans Affairs patients have died from virus complications in the last 10 months.
Leo Shane III

Specifics on an exact timeline for vaccinations was not released. The memo states that decisions will be made “in balance with site-specific resources, needs, vaccine availability, hesitancy to accept the vaccine, and status of the pandemic locally.

In an interview with Military Times, Stone said that he is shifting many of those vaccination decisions to local officials, in an effort to provide coverage to more individuals.

“We need to leave it up to people at the besides, to make sure they are making the best decisions for veterans,” he said. “When someone brings a veteran in to give them the vaccine, they can easily identify what the other needs are.”

For caregivers like Jennie Beller, the news is welcome relief.

Read the full article on militarytimes.com

WWII veteran becomes first VA patient to get COVID-19 vaccine

LinkedIn
female VA patient receiving vaccine

Less than three days after the first COVID-19 vaccine received government authorization, a World War II veteran in Massachusetts became the first Veterans Affairs patient in the country to get the shot.

The VA Bedford Healthcare System’s shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived Monday morning and the facility began to administer doses within a few hours.

Margaret Klessens, a 96-year-old resident of the Community Living Center in the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, received the shot Monday at 12:07 p.m., the VA Bedford Healthcare System announced in a statement.

Thirteen minutes later, Andrew Miller, a housekeeper in the environmental management services became the first employee to get the jab.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were arriving and hospitals are preparing to begin administering them to staff this week.

Boston Medical Center said Monday it received its first shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 vaccine.

Continue on to wvcb.com to read the complete article. Department of Veterans Affairs photo via Twitter.

VA announces initial plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

LinkedIn
scientist holding vile of vaccine for covid

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced a preliminary plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccinations it will implement once the Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency use authorization for a vaccine.

VA has worked in close coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed to plan for COVID-19 vaccination of VA staff and Veterans.

VA will first provide vaccinations to front-line VA health care workers and Veterans residing in long-term care units in 37 of its medical centers across the country.

The centers, listed below, were chosen for their ability to vaccinate large numbers of people and store the vaccines at extremely cold temperatures.

Health care workers will be among the first to receive vaccinations because they are at high risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19 to other staff members and patients, and their health is critical to ensuring the continued care of Veterans.

Veterans in VA’s long-term care facilities will be the first patient group to be vaccinated. As vaccine supplies increase, additional Veterans will receive vaccinations based on factors such as age, existing health problems and other considerations that increase the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

VA anticipates a limited vaccine supply immediately after FDA’s approval, but expects more supplies to be available in short order.

“VA is well prepared and positioned to begin COVID-19 vaccinations,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Our ultimate goal is to offer it to all Veterans and employees who want to be vaccinated.”

The 37 VA sites chosen for initial distribution of the vaccine will closely monitor patients and staff for side effects and log this information in its vaccine monitoring and tracking system. This is the same system VA uses to monitor reactions to all vaccines, including those for the flu and shingles.

VA will report directly to the CDC data on all vaccine doses administered by VA. The department will also provide general, public updates on the number of people who receive the vaccination at these sites, similar to how VA posts COVID-19 testing figures.

The 37 VA sites are spread throughout the country and include:

Birmingham (AL) VA Health Care System

Phoenix (AZ) VA Health Care System

Greater Los Angeles (CA) VA Health Care System

Palo Alto (CA) VA Health Care System

Eastern Colorado (CO) VA Health Care System

Connecticut (West Haven Campus) VA Health Care System

Washington DC VA Health Care System

Orlando (FL) VA Health Care System

Augusta (GA) VA Health Care System

Edward J. Hines Jr. VA Hospital (IL)

Lexington (KY) VA Health Care System

Southeast Louisiana (New Orleans) VA Health Care System

Maryland (Baltimore) VA Health Care System

Bedford (MA) VA Health Care System

Ann Arbor (MI) VA Health Care System

Minneapolis (MN) VA Health Care System

Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital (Columbia MO)

St. Louis (MO) VA Health Care System

Omaha (NE) VA Health Care System

Southern Nevada (North Las Vegas) VA Health Care System

Raymond G. Murphy (NM) VA Health Care System

New York Harbor (Brooklyn) VA Health Care System

Western New York (Buffalo) VA Health Care System

Durham (NC) VA Health Care System

Cleveland (OH) VA Health Care System

Oklahoma City (OK) VA Health Care System

Portland (OR) VA Health Care System

Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (Philadelphia PA)

Pittsburgh (PA) VA Health Care System

Caribbean (Puerto Rico) VA Health Care System

Memphis (TN) VA Health Care System

Dallas (TX) VA Medical Center

Michael E. DeBakey VA Health Care System (Houston TX)

Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital (San Antonio TX)

Richmond (VA) VA Health Care System

Puget Sound (WA) VA Health Care System

Milwaukee (WI) VA Health Care System

Veterans seeking additional information should visit the VA COVID-19 vaccine webpage, contact their care team or visit their facility website.

Source: VA.gov

Veterans with Crohn’s or Colitis, We Need Your Input!

LinkedIn
Female soldier in fatigues pictured looking somber facing forward with the text Crohn's & Colitis Foundation at the top

If you are a veteran of the U.S. military, and have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, we need your input!

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation invites veterans affected by these diseases to participate in a survey that will help us understand their healthcare needs. Participants of who qualify and complete the survey can be entered for a chance to win a $300 gift card

Start our survey now!

The mission of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD.

For more information about the Foundation, visit: www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org

Best Wellness Apps

LinkedIn
Soldier working on a laptop with US Flag in the background

Your wellness is a top priority, and there are many resources out there to help you manage stress and access all the benefits and tools that will help you stay strong in body and mind. Below are self-care mobile applications developed within the Department of Defense, Veteran Affairs and other partners. All mobile applications are free and all are for iOS and/or Android devices.

Breathe2Relax
Trains you on the “belly breathing” technique that has proven benefits for your overall mental health. Use the app’s breathing exercises to learn and practice on your own or as part of a stress management program supervised by your health care provider.

App Store

Google Play

Positive Activity Jackpot
Helps users who may be overwhelmed by depression find nearby enjoyable activities. Can’t decide?  Let the app’s jackpot function make the choice.

App Store

Google Play

LifeArmor
Touch-screen technology allows the user to browse information on 17 topics, including sleep, depression, relationship issues and post-traumatic stress.

App Store

Google Play

Virtual Hope Box
Contains simple tools to help users with coping, relaxation, distraction and positive thinking using personalized audio, video, pictures, games, mindfulness exercises, activity planning, inspirational quotes and coping statements.

App  Store

Google Play

Parenting2Go
Helps veterans and service members reconnect with their children and provides convenient tools to strengthen parenting skills. The app addresses challenges that come with parenting children of all ages and backgrounds.

App Store

Breathe, Think, Do
Laugh and learn as you help a Sesame Street monster friend calm down and solve everyday challenges. This app helps your child learn Sesame’s Breathe, Think, Do strategy for problem solving.

App Store

Google Play

Moving Forward
Provides on-the-go tools and teaches problem solving skills to overcome obstacles and deal with stress. The app is designed for veterans and service members, but is useful for anyone with stressful problems.

App Store

Provider Resilience
Offers self-assessment and stress reduction tools along with a dashboard to track your daily resilience rating.

App Store

Google Play

Big Moving Adventure
With Sesame’s Street’s Big Moving Adventure, your young child can create his or her own Muppet friend and help him or her through the moving process, including: Packing, saying goodbye, expressing feelings, traveling, and making new friends.

App Store

Google Play

COVID Coach
The COVID Coach app was created for everyone, including veterans and service members, to support self-care and overall mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

App Store

Google Play

Source: militaryonesource.mil/health-wellness/recommended-wellness-apps

PTSD Breakthrough

LinkedIn
Jonathan Lubecky in dress blues looking over shoulder smiling with others in the background carrying US flags

By: Matt Saintsing

When it comes to treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nothing is better than trauma-focused psychotherapies, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

By centering on the memory or meaning of harrowing and often painful events, veterans can process and make sense of their most stressful experiences in war.

But momentum is steadily growing behind the use of alternative medicine to battle the symptoms of PTSD, including one illicit substance that’s showing tremendous promise in recent studies. MDMA, commonly known as the street drug ecstasy or Molly, is culturally linked to the rave scene of the 1990s. First synthesized in 1912 for pharmacological purposes, the CIA experimented with the substance as a potential psychological weapon during the Cold War.

More recently, however, it’s shown to significantly reduce PTSD symptoms when paired with psychotherapy. The research has been so promising that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted the drug “breakthrough” status and is fast-tracking final phases of clinical trials, in the hopes of developing a new countermeasure to PTSD.

Army and Marine Corps veteran Jonathan Lubecky told DAV—a nonprofit organization that helps over a million veterans each year— that he knows the challenges of living with the invisible scars of war all too well. While he was deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2006, an enemy mortar crashed down inside the portable toilet he was using. He was left without a single physical scratch, but he would later learn he suffered a traumatic brain injury and developed severe PTSD.

(Above image: Wearing his dress blues, Lubecky is an advocate for alternative therapies, including MDMA, which he says helped to cure him of PTSD).

This event marked the beginning of a life-changing and dangerous journey involving daily suicidal thoughts, which he acted on five separate times. After retiring from the Army in 2009, he began self-medicating with alcohol and marijuana, masking the underlying problems. He also tried the medication prescribed to him by the VA, at one point taking 42 pills per day. But help seemed beyond his grasp.“Most of what I was thinking was, is this going to be my life for the rest of it? Nightmares every night?” he said. “I felt like the world would be better without me in it.”

But in 2014, Lubecky signed up to take part in a study involving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, organized and conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an organization working to advance the science of potentially beneficial compounds like MDMA.

MAPS’ multiple clinical MDMA trials have shown to reduce PTSD dramatically. Under close observation, Lubecky ingested MDMA three times over 12 weeks in conjunction with psychotherapy sessions. “It worked,” said Lubecky. “Five years later, and I still don’t have PTSD, and I haven’t done MDMA since.”

According to Dr. Michael Mithoefer, the acting medical director for MAPS and a psychiatrist who is heavily involved in the clinical trials, MDMA can break down barriers some may have with PTSD and encourage trust—a vital component of a patient-therapist relationship.

According to Mithoefer, MDMA helps reverse the brain functions that can paralyze people when trauma is triggered. MDMA’s ability to overcome fear and defensiveness, increase empathy and compassion, and heighten introspection can significantly improve psychotherapy for PTSD. Of the 103 patients that had chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD who completed MAPS’ Phase 2 trials, just over half no longer met the qualification for PTSD diagnosis in the months following treatment.

At the one-year mark, 68% no longer qualified. The stunning results were published in the journal Psychopharmacology in May 2019. Phase 3 trials, the final step of research required by the Food and Drug Administration before deciding to approve a drug for treatment, are currently underway at 14 sites across the United States, Canada and Israel. Mithoefer is hopeful that following these stages, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could be an accepted treatment for PTSD by 2022.

However, MDMA, like other psychedelics, remains illegal and can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Under the current regimen, MDMA is never given as a take-home drug, and patients only receive it two or three times over several months.

“DAV is supportive of nontraditional therapies, complementary and alternative medicine, and expanded treatment options for veterans,” said National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “Anything that can safely help our veterans heal from the lasting psychological impacts of war, particularly for those who tried treatment before without success, is worth studying further, which these trials are attempting to do.”

To learn more about how DAV helps veterans, visit DAV.org.

Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans

Lumen

Lumen

Penn State 2021

PENN STATE WORLD CAMPUS

Leidos Video

American Family Insurance

American Family Insurance

Verizon

Verizon Wireless