Helping Veterans to Heal
COVER provides counseling services to Central Virginia veterans. Our veterans who receive treatment demonstrate better physical health, require fewer hospitalizations, and report reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including depression, anxiety, traumatic nightmares, intrusive memories, alienation and rage. It is COVER's mission to help provide a better overall quality of life to our clients. Over 85% of our 5,000+ clients have been high combat veterans. Most were wounded and have complex treatment needs. Our services to veterans and their families include:
Addressing the trauma of combat and its legacy
Post traumatic stress disorder counseling
Substance abuse counseling on a case by case basis
Information services for veteran family members
Assisting with compiling historical documentation needed for disability claims
Consultation services for Central Virginia area professionals and clinicians
Case management for older veterans with numerous care providers
For the past three decades, COVER has been a hub for veterans in Central Virginia, one of the nation's highest concentrations of combat veterans.
COVER's Key Clinical Learnings
1. Co-morbidity of PTSD and Brain Injury in most high combat veterans.
COVER discovered that high combat veterans almost always have a history of head injury as defined by loss of consciousness and/or blood or fluid from the ear or nose. These veterans almost always exhibit severe PTSD presenting a more complicated clinical configuration. In fact, COVER has been credited with the introduction and highlighting of the issue of head injury into the VA in the early 1990s (1)
2. Effective treatment promotes better physical as well as mental health.
It also results in fewer hospitalizations and an overall better quality of life. Conversely, untreated PTSD often leads to premature death either through self-inflicted wounds or other means such as heart attacks and heart disease as proven in a Harvard and Boston University long term research study (2). Additionally, veterans have a higher mortality rate than their civilian peers (3). We believe good treatment can help mitigate the adverse health effects of PTSD and is ultimately cost effective not to mention advantageous to veterans and their loved ones.
3. Chronic Pain in Combat Veterans
COVER has noticed that military injuries and wounding generate chronic pain in even young veterans. Chronic pain is often overlooked and it is an important element in the treatment of all combat veterans.
4. PTSD is usually chronic in high combat soldiers.
The VA acknowledged this when they gave lifetime eligibility to combat veterans attending Vet Centers. COVER would postulate a lifetime care program is clinically advisable and ultimately quite cost effective, reducing the incidence of higher cost health problems.
(1) Initial clinical observations were confirmed through Agent Orange Grant from 1989 - 1995 and introduced in 1994 National Symposium and published in "The Legacy of Vietnam Veterans and Their Families", 1995
(2) Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007; 64:10
(3) The Journal of the American Medical Association, "Postservice mortality among Vietnam veterans. The Centers for Disease Control Vietnam Experience Study," Vol. 257 No. 6, February 13, 1987
At COVER, veterans are not treated in a vacuum. As one former LRP said, "We (veterans) think we want to be isolated, but really we don't". Difficulties dealing with people
(civilians) is at the top of most veteran's problem list. COVER has always been family focused and family is deeply embedded in the work with their veterans.