A Powerful Reminder

A Powerful Reminder

00xp-VETS1-master675-v2‘Buddy Check on 22!’ Veterans Use Social Media to Fight Suicide

“Buddy check on 22! Where are my warriors?!” That was how E. Michael Davis, a former army sergeant, greeted his Facebook friends one afternoon last month.

One-by-one, the men and women who had been deployed with him in Iraq and Afghanistan checked in. Many were executing the most mundane of life’s tasks, but they were still alive: Working a long shift. Heading home for a beer. Exercising. Listening to music at the moment, thanks.

It was March 22. To many civilians, just another Tuesday. But to thousands of veterans and active duty soldiers, the 22nd of every month is a reminder to make a suicide prevention spot-check on former comrades. A Department of Veterans Affairs study in 2012 said an estimated 22 veterans committed suicide every day in 2010. While other studies calculated a lower tally, closer to one or two per day, the number 22 has taken on potent symbolism on social media, from roll calls to push-up challenges.

For the entire article, please click The New York Times

Photo:  Zachary Ziegel and other Marines attend a funeral in 2015 for Sgt. Austin Noble, one of the men who served with them in Afghanistan. Mr. Ziegel keeps a Buddy Check 22 Facebook page to help them keep track of each other. Credit Hayden Noble

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A Welcome Reception for Medal of Honor Recipient, Florent Groberg

A Welcome Reception for Medal of Honor Recipient, Florent Groberg

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Pathway Home Nears Deal with Napa Valley College

Pathway Home Nears Deal with Napa Valley College

nvcmulticolorlogosmallSince its founding nine years ago, The Pathway Home has partnered with veterans’ agencies, nonprofits and donors to treat hundreds of military men suffering from war’s aftereffects. In the coming months, the therapy program may gain the most important ally for its future: Napa Valley College.

Read the Full Story in the Napa Valley Register.

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Dr. Alex Threlfall Joins The Pathway Home Board of Directors

Dr. Alex Threlfall Joins The Pathway Home Board of Directors

Alex ThrellfallAlexander Threlfall, M.D., M.A., functions as a Clinical Instructor for the University of California San Francisco Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Threlfall completed his fellowship training in geriatric psychiatry at UCSF in June of 2011 and his residency training at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, where he served as chief resident. He was recently the Associate Chief of Community Based Outpatient Clinic Mental Health Services and Director for Mental Health at the Santa Rosa CBOC for the San Francisco VA and recently joined Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, a network of Sonoma County Federally Qualified Health Centers, as Medical Director for the Brookwood Health Center, which is funded to provide Primary Care and Mental Health services for the homeless in Sonoma County.

He attended medical school at Texas Tech School of Medicine in Lubbock, TX and has a masters in biotechnology from Columbia University – NYC. He has been a member of the AAGP since 2008 and from 2010 to 2011 sat on the board of the AAGP’s Political Action Committee as the MIT. Over the course of his AAGP membership, he has served on and/or contributed to a variety of committees and caucuses including the AAGP’s Public Policy Committee, Annual Meeting Planning Committee, Scholars Program and VA Caucus. He has also chaired and presented symposia on Telepsychiatry and Psychotherapy in Late Life depression for the last two years at the APA (2013) and AAGP (2014). Lastly, Dr. Threlfall will have completed his 3 year term as Council Member for the APA’s Council on Geriatric Psychiatry.

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100 Men Who Give a Damn Select The Pathway Home

100 Men Who Give a Damn Select The Pathway Home

100 Men Who Give a Damn about Napa County is a group of local men who are interested in supporting our community by contributing to Napa County charities like The Pathway Home together as a group to increase the impact.

They come from all walks of life and varying financial backgrounds. As individuals it is difficult to make a very large impact, but as a group they believe they have the ability to contribute to the growth of our community in ways never before thought possible.

The Pathway Home couldn’t agree more. On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and today’s veterans, we thank and salute the membership for selecting the agency as the most recent recipient of their philanthropy.

To learn more, visit 100mennapa.org.

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Pathway Home reinvents itself to help Veterans Struggling in College

Pathway Home reinvents itself to help Veterans Struggling in College

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Howard Yune

February 28, 2016 (Yountville, CA) – Nearly half a year after it suspended operations, leaders of The Pathway Home in Yountville are organizing a comeback – with a new focus on helping those struggling to shift from military service to civilian college life.

The program had treated about 450 returning veterans with combat-related metal stress, but difficulty with raising money—more than $1 million per year—caused the board to stop accepting new veterans last fall and look at new ways to make the project sustainable.

Now a new team, including members of the Pathway board, state and federal veterans’ agencies, and Napa Valley College, hope to revive the therapy program by the end of 2016, organizers said. Plans call for the home to house clients in leased space at the Veterans Home of California, where Pathway operated from 2008 to 2015, and to partner with NVC in offering support services at the Napa campus, with help from staff from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

The focus on bringing veterans’ aid to campus could become Pathway’s road to the future as it seeks to make its services sustainable for the long haul, and possibly create a model for other therapy programs – and colleges – to copy.

From its opening eight years ago, Pathway set a new course for treating veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, providing intensive inpatient treatment for up to four months at a time under the guidance of other veterans. But despite millions of dollars in donations, the program struggled to pay for itself, eventually halving its original 30-person capacity before going on hiatus in September.

In rebooting the therapy program, directors are aiming to use the expertise of other agencies while reaching out to clients trying to use college as their path to a stable civilian life.

Pathway clients would room at Pathway’s leased space at the Veterans Home’s Madison Hall, then travel by van to NVC for classes, according to Oscar de Haro, the school’s vice president of student services.

At the college, students would have access to a collection of counseling, tutoring and other services, according to Keith Armstrong, who directs the VA’s satellite clinic at City College of San Francisco. The federal agency would supply a mental health counselor to work with student clients both at the college and at Pathway in Yountville.

Enrollment in a renewed Pathway has not been set, but Armstrong suggested the program could accommodate between 10 and 20 veterans initially.

The expanded support program proposed at NVC is modeled after similar veterans’ centers the VA’s Bay Area division already runs at other two-year institutions, he said. By combining VA staffing with NVC’s existing veterans’ services, it would parallel the San Francisco City College program’s melding of psychotherapy, social work and medication management with more focused aid in finding housing, getting health care through the VA system, writing resumes, and other tasks.

Bringing the safety net close to the classroom can be the difference that lets more veterans attain a stable life while at their most vulnerable, Armstrong predicted.

“The idea is to provide a one-stop shopping model so that people can get their services while they’re at school, and decrease the stress of juggling work, school, family life and VA appointments,” he said Tuesday.

Veterans studying at NVC already are exempted from the college’s $46-per-unit fee. In addition, those being treated through Pathway likely could use housing stipends from the GI Bill to pay for their stays at the Yountville home, according to Patti Morgan, the school’s dean of financial aid.

Additional support may come from reimbursements by the VA for veterans who enter work-study programs while signing up for at least nine units of courses, said Lynette Cortes, veterans’ services specialist for the college.

Any steps to help pick up expenses are vital in reviving a program that cost about $1.2 million per year in its original form, according to Mike Horak, Pathway’s director of administration and development.

Pathway got its launch funding from a private $5.6 million grant delivered through the Tides Center, a donor fund based in San Francisco. But after working through its seed money, the home was forced to rely mostly on local fundraising in the absence of reimbursement from the VA or Tricare, the federal health system for military personnel, retirees and dependent.

“While the Napa Valley is a generous community, when you looked at the grand scheme of things, we only have a small building and the ability to bring in only so many people at one time,” Horak said. “It was a highly expensive program to operate, and we weren’t necessarily able to attract (donors) with a broad perspective.”

Since graduating its last class of clients Sept. 17, Pathway’s board has continued its fundraising and garnered about $417,000. Its lease at the Veterans Home will remain in force through the end of 2017, he said.

An 11-member volunteer committee with representatives from the VA, Veterans Home and the state Department of Veterans Affairs is advising Pathway in its transition to campus-based aid. The committee also includes Veterans Home administrator Don Veverka, Tug McGraw Foundation co-founder Jennifer Brusstar and psychology professors from UC San Francisco, among others.

Ultimately, according to Horak, Pathway leaders hope to create a system that other colleges can emulate in order to spread the benefits to returning veterans elsewhere in the Bay Area.

Armstrong, of the VA’s San Francisco division, hoped The Pathway Home’s return will point the way to greater teamwork.

“You want to help veterans use the GI Bill wisely, to graduate as quickly as they can to four-year schools or vocational training,” said Armstrong, of the VA’s San Francisco division. “If we can provide academic and mental health counseling under one umbrella, these people will have a better opportunity to succeed. That’s the mutual goal of the state, the Veterans Home, Pathway and the VA.

“Maybe it’s an example of the future of partnerships, the idea that the VA can’t do it alone and the community can’t do it alone,” he said. “It’s within these partnerships that veterans will benefit.”

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Military’s care for people with PTSD and depression falls short

Military’s care for people with PTSD and depression falls short

Another feature in our ongoing effort to keep our web-based family engaged and informed.

This article entitled, Military’s care for people with PTSD and depression falls short, from The Washington Post is an interesting and informative read. 

 

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What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?

What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?

We always encourage our reader to enjoy thought provoking and interesting stories and this one fits the bill.  Please have a read and enjoy this piece from the New York Times Magazine. 

What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?

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Improvements In Progress – Part 2

Improvements In Progress – Part 2

This weekend, volunteers from IBEW Local 180, US Army Warrant Officers Association – Mare Island Chapter, Bethany Lutheran Ministries, The Veterans Home of California – Yountville, Chapter 694 – American Legion Riders and the US Army Reserve Ambassador returned to The Pathway Home to pitch in and nearly complete several significant projects at our facility. These folks are the epitome of teamwork.  These amazing folks dubbed this a weekend of “Veterans Helping Veterans” and we could not be more grateful.

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Add Tears of a Warrior to your reading list…

Add Tears of a Warrior to your reading list…

IMG_3271The Pathway Home had the privilege of recently spending time with Janet and Tony Seahorn talking about the agency’s future. They graciously gifted us with multiple copies of their book, Tears of a Warrior, now in its 4th edition. If you haven’t heard of or yet read it, we highly encourage you to do so.

“This book is a godsend for PTSD sufferers. Written in a clear and readable style, it combines solid research and personal stories to provide an accurate description of the disorder and practical advice on what to do and when and where to seek help. I highly recommend this book to anyone impacted or desiring more knowledge of PTSD.”Pat Wolfe, Ed.D. International consultant and author on brain research and learning.

You can obtain a copy at www.tearsofawarrior.com.

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