Montana VA selected for pilot program to expand rural mental health care

todayMarch 22, 2022

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HELENA — The Montana VA Healthcare System (MTVAHCS) has been chosen to take part in a brand new pilot program aimed toward increasing entry to psychological well being take care of veterans impacted by psychological well being circumstances.

The brand new pilot program will ship rural veterans’ well being providers by means of animal remedy, agritherapy, sports activities and recreation remedy, artwork remedy and extra. It is going to be open to veterans enrolled in VA Well being Care who’re dwelling with post-traumatic stress, melancholy, nervousness, or different psychological well being circumstances.

“Many of the veterans who do [die by suicide] in Montana aren’t linked with conventional remedy or well being care, so if we are able to discover methods utilizing alternate options, which will join with veterans,” stated Paul Harman, Affiliate Chief of Employees for Psychological Well being at VA Montana. “Horses and animals are a lifestyle for most individuals in Montana. So, if we are able to attempt to join them to that and discover methods to assist folks to speak about what is going on on and to deal with the problems so they do not need to take drastic measures.”

MTVAHCS has already been utilizing packages that use animals like horses or birds of prey to assist veterans heal. The brand new pilot program will assist deliver that service to extra rural sufferers.

The pilot program, created beneath the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Psychological Well being Care Enchancment Act, has been approved for 3 years and could be prolonged by the Veterans Affairs Secretary. It was sponsored by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester and devoted to Ex-Navy Seal Commander John Scott Hannon who served for 23 years and finally retired in Montana. He labored to combine service animals into veterans’ psychological well being packages and labored to develop a gaggle remedy program earlier than dying by suicide in 2018.

“When our preventing women and men return house modified by their service, it’s on us to ship the instruments that’ll assist heal the injuries of struggle,” stated Tester. “That’s why I fought to safe this new pilot program beneath the Hannon Act—increasing VA’s footprint in rural states like Montana and offering extra veterans entry to the lifesaving psychological well being care they want.”

Candice Griffith, a retired Montana Military Nationwide Guard Main, who suffers from PTSD, has labored with an animal remedy program, Canine Tag Buddies. She says animal remedy is a superb software for serving to veterans with invisible wounds. She notes that the flexibility to work alongside her service animal, Gio, has given her a newfound objective and the flexibility to stay a extra enriched life.

“On the coronary heart of it, I’m able to now stay my finest life with an animal that may sense discomfort or my wants. So, I’ve a medical support that goes with me wherever I am going. So, it is much like the navy the place you may have that battle buddy,” says Griffith.

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Written by: soft fm radio staff

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