APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Prevail Health Solutions, Rush University Medical Center and Give an Hour are teaming up with Goldman Sachs Gives to launch a national program to overcome current barriers to mental health care and make a significant impact on the epidemic of military mental health issues. This program will combine Vets Prevail, a free online program featuring dynamic Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)-based e-learning lessons and peer-to-peer support, with free face-to-face counseling provided by Give an Hour's network of over 5,000 mental health professionals. One of the key elements of this novel solution is the tightly integrated Peer-to-Peer service component. To fulfill this aspect Prevail expects to hire and employ a minimum of 8-10 additional veteran peers during the program period.
The purpose of this program will be to provide full-spectrum mental health solutions outside of existing formal systems, bringing an easily accessible, stigma free option to those not currently receiving treatment within those systems. This online, scalable and measurable program represents a best-in-class solution for our veterans, and will have capacity and reach far beyond any traditional mental health offering, at a fraction of the cost.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Following a three-month preparation and planning phase, the program will be made available nationwide for a period of 12 months. Any US veteran will be able to navigate to www.vetsprevail.org <http://www.vetsprevail.org> and in less than five minutes, enroll in the program anonymously and free of charge. Once enrolled, participants will have 24/7 access to both the Vets Prevail application as well as the GAH network of licensed mental health professionals. Program participants identified as being at high risk of clinical disorder (as evidenced via self-assessments or comments during Peer support chats) will be matched with appropriately trained Give an Hour providers through a custom Vets Prevail workflow management application.
Of the approximately two million service members who have recently returned from deployment in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimated 600,000 will develop mental health issues, primarily posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Of these, less than 25% will get effective support or treatment. There is a progressive set of consequences when deployment-related mental disorders go unaddressed. Posttraumatic stress disorder and depression can lead to unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness and even suicide. In fact, of the more than 30,000 suicides in the US each year, 20 percent are veterans.
Seal KH, Metzler, T. J., & Gima, K. S. Trends and Risk Factors for Mental Health Diagnoses Among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Using Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care, 2002-2008. American Journal of Public Health. 2009:1-8.
Tanielian T, Jaycox LH. Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. Santa Monica: The Rand Corporation; 2008.
AFP. Suicide rates soar among US veterans: official. 2010. <http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ip7r1SIPog5ds_Ryeomhh...