AMVETS Unveils National Expansion of Freedom and Honor Warrior Transition Program

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Study Data Shows Positive Impact on Veterans Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and Readjustment Issues; Supports Program’s Expansion

The WTWs are making a difference for the warriors going through the reintegration training”

AMVETS unveiled today a plan for expansion of the Freedom and Honor Warrior Transition Program and its signature Warrior Transition Workshops (WTW). Announced at a New York City meeting of the organization’s leaders and past WTW participants, the initiatives include formation of a special board of directors to lead fundraising activities to enable the program to benefit at least 5,000 veterans and their families over the next several years.

WTWs are peer-to peer, hands-on reintegration trainings conducted over 2.5-days using techniques proven effective in addressing the emotional and physical impact of trauma. The workshops incorporate multimedia, peer-to-peer engagement, paradigm shift and bio energetics methodologies, as well as a well-crafted blend of military history, legend and ritual. The WTW program is open to veterans, active duty, Guard and Reserve to address Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and reintegration challenges and is provided at no cost to participants.

“The WTWs are making a difference for the warriors going through the reintegration training,” said AMVETS Executive Director Stewart Hickey. “We see the results of the training showing measurable consistent improvements in the warriors’ mindset and post traumatic stress triggers. The PH.Ds and other experts are equally impressed. At the same time, the countless other programs out there and billions of dollars invested by DoD and the VA are not showing these kinds of results. Our immediate focus is to expand and generalize these statistically-proven results across a larger cohort to further demonstrate how this program ought to be integrated into DoD’s as a viable, effective, and complimentary training alternative.”

The program expansion plan follows AMVETS’ recent announcement of results from the first-ever assessment of the health outcomes of the Freedom and Honor Warrior Transition Program. Through scientific evaluation conducted under the direction of the American Institutes for Research® (AIR), AMVETS obtained data showing statistically significant results of WTWs in addressing PTS and reintegration-related challenges. The most consistent improvements seen were in areas of pain interference, sleep disturbance, anger, anxiety and social isolation.

“Studies show that approximately 63% of veterans will not seek the help of mental health professionals,” said Hickey. “Many have concerns mainly due to the perceived stigma that comes with mental health counseling and the affect on their careers. AMVETS is committed to ensuring those who have served their nation are provided viable, effective and complementary alternatives to the prevailing mental health approaches. The preliminary results of the study are very promising in validating that the WTWs are truly making a difference for the participants.”

Data for the assessment of health outcomes were collected using the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS®). PROMIS® is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund initiative to assess a person’s health—including their ability to fulfill complex social roles, their ability to conduct their normal activities, and whether and how much they are suffering (https://commonfund.nih.gov/promis/).

WTW participants responded anonymously to PROMIS® questions on alcohol use, anger, anxiety, depression, emotional support, fatigue, pain interference, sleep disturbance, and social isolation. PROMIS assessment data showed that participants enjoyed an immediate improvement in symptoms following the WTW and that these improvements continued at the one-month evaluation. The results of this evaluation also demonstrated the experiential value that this program had for participants in the two WTWs that were evaluated. Participants were unanimous in stating that the program met their goals and that they would recommend the workshop to their peers and superiors.

About AMVETS:    
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. For more information visit http://www.amvets.org.

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