At Ease USA (AEU) is committed to providing access to confidential trauma treatment and therapeutic support for active military, veterans and their loved ones, regardless of their ability to pay. AEU complements existing services offered by military and veterans organizations, with a focus on the elimination of barriers to treatment for those suffering from the effects of deployment and the uncertainty of war.
There are three At Ease USA-funded clinics in Nebraska – Bellevue, Grand Island and North Platte. Services are also provided in Lincoln. In addition to one-on-one therapy, At Ease also includes peer-to-peer group therapy and support sessions, both for veterans and for family members. Clients are offered individual and family sessions. In 2016, 1,334 clients received behavioral health and substance use therapy services, peer-to-peer support, community support or mentoring and classes. Of these 1,334, 638 clients received direct behavioral health and substance use therapy services.
AEU saw a need to reach beyond the brick and mortar clinics to reach veterans and families located in remote areas of Nebraska. AEU has taken a two-pronged approach to reaching these families: 1. AEU funded 27 therapists from across the state in 2016 to participate in EMDR training. This is one of two effective treatment modalities in easing the pain of PTSD. We realize not everyone will travel to one of the three clinics but by training therapists in other population centers, we believe we will extend our reach and build a preferred provider network. 2. AEU is actively pursuing teletherapy to reach those in remote areas of Nebraska but also those who may live in the metro area but are afraid to leave their basements.
Toward this end, AEU is working to launch a new initiative, the Preferred Provider Network. AEU will hire a full-time clinician to undertake the telehealth sessions in addition to managing the members of the preferred provider network. Our goal is to offer effective and timely treatment to clients in remote areas as well as those in metropolitan areas that may not have access to care.
In 2011, AEU teamed up with Creighton University and Tel Aviv University to undertake the first trial in the United States, and one of only two trials in the world, testing the effectiveness of Attention Bias Modification Treatment (ABMT) on PTSD. The results were met with great success and the findings were printed in numerous national journals to include The American Journal of Psychiatry and Cognition and Emotion.
The first phase of the clinical trials has been a huge success. It was concluded that Attention Control Training (ACT) is more effective than ABMT in military personnel with PTSD. All participants had improvement to some degree beyond the clinical threshold.
In September of 2017, the second round of trials were launched. These trials will test the software's utility in a web-based delivery format and extend its scope to include treatment-resistant veterans, women, and children ages 7-14 with trauma related to community violence. These trials should take approximately three years to complete. We are excited by these findings and the possible treatments that could be offered in the future for those suffering with PTSD.