Psychiatric wounds of war can run deep. Veterans often struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression and substance use. Training to identify, treat or refer veterans for help and to better understand military culture is critical.
That is why PRMS recently provided support for the New York State Psychiatric Association’s (NYSPA) Veterans Mental Health – Primary Care Training Initiative (VMH-PCTI). It is a series of free programs and lectures for primary care physicians and healthcare providers across the Empire State designed to enhance the capacity of community mental health and primary health care providers to meet the mental health and substance use needs of veterans returning from combat.
The Initiative is supported by a grant from the New York State Legislature and administered through the State Office of Mental Health. The NYSPA held the first training session in 2014. Since then, seven grand rounds and off-campus presentations have been held at places that include Albany Medical Center in Albany, Stony Brook University Hospital in Suffolk, NY, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, The New York Academy of Medicine in Manhattan and St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers.
“NYSPA acknowledges the generous support of PRMS for our VMH-PCTI presentations,” said Seth Stein, Esq., Executive Director and General Counsel of the NYSPA. “This assistance will increase attendance at our programs and thereby help ensure a well-trained physician workforce able to recognize and address the invisible wounds of combat.”
Previous speakers in the series have included Matthew Friedman, M.D., PhD, a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College and a nationally known PTSD expert and author. Dr. Friedman served as Executive Director of U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD for 24 years and is currently the Center’s senior advisor.
A recent event at The New York Academy of Medicine covered PTSD statistics, psychobiology, clinical challenges and DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, as well as psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatment. It also addressed family issues and military culture, assessment, and TBI etiology, pathophysiology, clinical challenges and treatment.
Stephen Sills, PRMS Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said the company “applauds the New York State Psychiatric Association for the proactive steps it and member providers are taking to further reduce the stigma of mental illness and to get people the help they truly need. The high incidence of suicide among members of the military shows us just how important it is to support groups like the NYSPA as it reaches out to this and other vulnerable populations,” he added.
Members of the NYSPA interested in or experienced with treating PTSD, TBI and psychiatric issues facing veterans who would like to be a presenter should contact the NYSPA. Honoraria and expense reimbursement are available from grant funds.
Health care providers who would like to hold a training session at their hospital or in their local community should also contact the NYSPA Central Office at (516) 542-0077 or via email at Centraloffice@nyspsych.org. For more information about the New York State Psychiatric Association and all the programs it offers, visit www.nyspsych.org.