Blanket of Freedom Becomes the New Face for the Treatment of Veterans With Mental Illness

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Blanket of Freedom, the nation's first non-profit organization using Expressive Art/Drama Therapy to support Veterans with mental illness, is proud to announce the opening of the headquarters location in Georgia.

Blanket of Freedom was created in recognition of the need for Veterans to have access to new methodologies for treatment that focuses on the reduction of the stigma that comes with seeking help for mental illness. Blanket of Freedom (BOF) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to providing services to combat veterans struggling with mental illness by providing an Expressive/Drama Therapy program which provides an alternative to traditional treatment programs. This approach provides the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, and achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience is actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills are enhanced. Participants expand their repertoire of dramatic roles to find that their own life roles have been strengthened.

The need for services in Veteran mental health is profound. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for Americans affected by mental illness, military service members coming home from the recent set of long protracted wars will have to tend to the psychological wounds of battle for years to come (NAMI, 2012). NAMI estimates that one in five active duty service members are affected by mental health disorders that developed during their service and as a direct result of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (NAMI, 2012). “The current wars have required longer and more frequent deployments than at any other time since the military became an all-volunteer force in 1973.

  • One in five (20 percent) active duty service members experienced symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS), depression and other mental health problems.
  • Rates of PTS in veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars range from five to 37 percent, while rates of depression were found to be as high as 27 percent. The Veterans’ Administration has treated more than 400,000 post 9/11 veterans for a mental health problems.
  • About one in five active duty service members engage in chronic heavy drinking.
  • Drug abuse, including prescription drugs, increased from five percent in 2005 to 12 percent in 2008. Drug or alcohol abuse was involved in one-third of the Army suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009.
  • Military suicide is a national crisis with one active duty soldier taking his or her own life every 36 hours and one veteran every 80 minutes.
  • Suicide has increased within the National Guard and Reserve, even among those who have never been officially “activated” and are not eligible for care through the Veterans’ Administration”.

For additional information on Blanket of Freedom and services, please visit http://www.blanketoffreedom.org or contact Blanket of Freedom at info@blanketoffreedom.org.

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LaShone Garth
@bofgeorgia
since: 06/2015
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Blanket of Freedom - Supporting Veterans With Mental Illness
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