Community Comes Together to Give Hope in Uncertain Times for Veterans Though Trauma Training and Specialized Care

Home Base SWFL is responding to the needs of local veterans facing increased levels of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and co-ocurring substance use as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by seeking community support for training clinicians on evidence-based trauma therapies.

The COVID-19 pandemic creates a “perfect storm” that threatens the mental health of many Veterans, particularly those with pre-existing mental health conditions. Isolation as a result of quarantine and social distance measures is a symptom of many of the invisible wounds Home Base treats. These stressful and uncertain times can aggravate and exacerbate the mental health challenges Home Base SWFL program participants already face. There is also a real concern that increased mental health symptoms, coupled with a sense of isolation and lost employment or wages, can increase the veteran suicide rate, which is already elevated relative to the general population.

As the national and local leader on the frontlines of Veteran’s mental health, having more trained clinicians to better deal with the financial and mental health implications this pandemic will bring now and into the future is a priority for Home Base.

Grant funding recently received from the Community Foundation of Collier County will help realize the goal to train up 15 SWFL clinicians and oversee the delivery of prolonged exposure and cognitive process therapy to local Veterans and military families.

The COVID-19 relief grant from the Community Foundation’s Collier Comes Together Fund are designed to rapidly deploy resources to healthcare nonprofit organizations to support their operations as well as their staff at the frontlines of Collier County’s coronavirus outbreak.

Collier and Lee County clinicians who complete the training will become a certified Mass General Hospital Development Clinician and join an official national register of providers. These clinicians will be equipped with the highly specialized tools needed to treat trauma victims with what is considered the gold standard for trauma therapies – skills that are lacking and difficult to access in SWFL Florida.

The goal of the training program is to help meet the demand for the greatly underfunded and under-resourced mental health care system in Florida – especially for the large population of military families in the state which, according to the Census of 2018, represents nearly 14% of the population.

Home Base SWFL along with many other local non-profit organizations has been financially impacted by the pandemic due to the cancelation of fundraising events during the peak fundraising season, however, through donor support we have continued to help SWFL Veterans and military families through virtual access to fitness, mindfulness, mental health and nutrition tips for Warrior Health and Fitness participants as well as treatment services through the Home Base Outpatient Clinic at Lee Health.

The total funding needed to realize the training program is $53,800. The $15,000 Community Foundation grant is a great start. If you are interested in supporting this life-saving training and treatment program to help better treat SWFL Veterans and military families, please donate online and help us reach our goal.