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Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families

National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center - Flint Hills Retreats

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Over the past decade, the Department of Defense has taken drastic steps to understand the causes of PTSD and develop multiple programs to reduce its effects. The programs that emerged as the most effective were those that approached the treatment of PTSD in a holistic manner, like the Deployment Health Clinical Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to these initiatives in the Department of Defense, several non-profit organizations supplemented the nation's effort in the treatment of PTSD by establishing their own treatment programs. Similarly, the non-profit programs that emerged as the most effective were those who took a holistic approach to the treatment of PTSD.

In addition to the need for a holistically-based treatment program for PTSD, several trends seem to significantly enhance the effectiveness of these programs:

  1. Intergenerational Combat Veteran interaction – pairing Veterans of the past with the Soldiers of today
  2. Focus on the Veteran and Spouse as a single unit – the Veteran Couple
  3. Heavy Community and State involvement – a program by Kansas Communities to help Kansas Veterans
  4. The "Soldiers Saving Soldiers" concept – group discussions with a clinical lead
  5. Preparation and Follow-up Care – support to participants before, during and after the retreat

A holistically based PTSD psychoeducational and peer recovery support program, that respects the five core principles outlined above, does not currently exist in the State of Kansas. Establishing such a program will enhance the efficiency of PTSD treatment options in the State of Kansas while saving valuable funds and promoting more effective approaches. Additionally, this program has the potential to generate tourism funds and provide a significant return on investment by showcasing the Flint Hills Region. Finally, the program facilitates critically-needed research by Kansas State University that will place the State of Kansas at the leading edge of helping military families deal with the consequences of war, and solidify Kansas's position as the most Veteran-supportive state in the United States.

The National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center - Flint Hills Retreats, developed by a team of experienced researchers, Soldiers, clinicians, and citizens of Kansas, will become the focal point for behavioral health psychoeducational and peer recovery support in the State of Kansas, and lead the United States in the emotional recovery of its Combat Veterans. Building on partnerships between the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families at Kansas State University and the Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion, the National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center - Flint Hills Retreats provides the opportunity for Military and Veteran families to come together, reconnect their relationships, and reclaim their lives.