June 2019
Spotlight
The June issue of the Veterans' Justice and Mental Health Newsletter is highlighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for PTSD Awareness Month . PTSD is a mental health disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event , such as war, combat, serious accident, or personal assault. Symptoms of PTSD include intense disturbing feelings and thoughts   that can occur long after the actual event, including nightmares, flashbacks, sadness, fear, anger, detachment, and estrangement. Individuals suffering from PTSD   may isolate themselves and react differently to events, such as having a strong negative reaction to a noise or interaction, than those unaffected.

Various military experiences and factors can contribute to the development of PTSD , as well as other mental health problems. Contributors can occur during war, peacetime, and training. While statistics may vary based on the sample, the National Center for PTSD   at the US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11% to 20% of veterans from the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom era and 12% of Gulf War-era veterans have PTSD in a given year and that 30% of Vietnam-era veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime. Researchers have estimated that PTSD and other mental health problems may increase among the most recent era of veterans.

We hope you find the resources in this month’s issue helpful in your education and efforts related to addressing PTSD among military veterans and servicemembers. In addition to recently available resources, the links below provide an introduction to PTSD, its treatment, and related research.





Dr. Julie Baldwin
Associate Director of Research
Justice Programs Office, American University
Research
Erica L. Epstein, Sarah L. Martindale, and Holly M. Miskeya
In structured interviews with 1,577 veterans with and without PTSD and TBI, male veterans with PTSD were more likely to have alcohol and/or substance use disorders, as well as a mild TBI. Women with PTSD were more likely to have moderate-severe TBIs. Female veterans without either diagnosis were more likely to have major depressive disorder.

Ariel J. Lang, Anne L. Malaktaris, Pollyanna Casmar, Selena A. Baca, Shahrokh Golshan, Timothy Harrison, and Lobsang Negi
This study compared Compassion Meditation (CM), an offshoot of Cognitively‐Based Compassion Training (CBCT ® ), against a more general psychoeducational/relaxation approach. After ten weeks, CM produced greater reductions in PTSD symptoms than the general approach.

Synthia H. Mellon, F. Saverio Bersani, Daniel Lindqvist, Rasha Hammamieh, Duncan Donohue, Kelsey Dean, Marti Jett, Rachel Yehuda, Janine Flory, Victor I. Reus, Linda M. Bierer, Iouri Makotkine, Duna Abu Amara, Clare Henn Haase, Michelle Coy, Francis J. Doyle III, Charles Marmar, and Owen M. Wolkowitz
In a blood sample comparison between more than 80 male veterans with PTSD and 80 matched veterans without a PTSD diagnosis, differences in glycolysis and fatty acid uptake and metabolism were discovered, suggesting that mitochondrial alterations or dysfunction may contribute to PTSD symptoms.

Anne S. Douds and Don Hummer
This case study of a veterans treatment court (VTC) focuses on the interactions between mentors and mentees, analyzing how each view their responsibilities regarding program violations. The authors provide suggestions for improving future mentor/mentee relationships. 
Practitioner Publications
US Department of Veterans Affairs
The one-pager lists ways in which you can participate in PTSD Awareness Month on social media, at home, at work, and in your local community.

US Department of Veterans Affairs
This two-page fact sheet briefly explains what PTSD is, how it develops, how it can be treated, and recent research on the diagnosis.

National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics
This one-page fact sheet depicts the downward trend in the total population of veterans living in the United States.

National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics
These slides summarize changes in the number of service-connected disabilities among American veterans and statistical differences between disability ratings over the past 30 years. Though the number of total veterans has been declining, the number of service-connected disabilities has been increasing, mainly due to a large increase in disabilities rated over 50%. 
Multimedia Resources
(Webinars, Podcasts, Online Resources)
Justice Programs Office at American University
This webinar delves into the operation of VTCs across the US. The expert panel will discuss the complexities of the implementation, related implications, lessons learned, and recommendations for the future.

Veterans Health Administration
This short video follows Sam, a fictional male veteran suffering from PTSD, as he struggles with his symptoms and learns about getting help. The narrator explains the causes and symptoms of PTSD and how veterans can get help from the VA and other mental health providers.

SAMHSA-SMVF TA Center
This webinar provides teams involved in the Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges to Prevent Suicide among Servicemembers, Veterans, and their Families with the leadership skills they need to create effective change in their communities. The panelists explore leadership models at the state and local levels and discuss methods of interagency collaboration.

Center for Deployment Psychology
This webinar defines and discusses complicated grief and traumatic loss, as well as their importance in military populations. Evidence-based practices for grief-informed treatment for practitioners and clinicians working within the military culture are specified.

Center for Deployment Psychology
The webinar addresses evidence-based methods for diagnosing military-related PTSD and how to obtain military and/or trauma records, complete an effective screening process (which tools to use), and conduct semi-structured patient interviews. Role playing and demonstrations aid instruction.

Center for Deployment Psychology
The goal of this webinar is to help clinicians conceptualize nightmares as more than just a symptom of PTSD. Various assessment methods and treatment options for PTSD-related nightmares are addressed.

Center for Deployment Psychology
This webinar examines how the ability to regulate emotions can be hindered by PTSD and cause symptoms of increased anger and aggression, lists clinical assessments for PTSD-related anger and aggression, and discusses current psychotherapeutic treatments.
Policy
Arizona House Bill 2488 Enacted April 17, 2019
This bill requires the Arizona Department of Health Services to create annual reports detailing all veteran suicides in the state. The report will include demographics, analysis of risk factors, and explanations of historic trends.

Indiana Senate Enrolled Act No. 491 Enacted May 1, 2019
This act supplies funding for a pilot program providing assistance to clinicians who offer diagnostics and hyperbaric oxygen therapy to veterans. This applies only in cases where hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat either a TBI or PTSD, or both, for a veteran in the State of Indiana.

Maryland Senate Bill 105 Enacted May 13, 2019
This bill allows Maryland’s State Veterans Service Animal Program to include a sub-program using trained therapy horses with veterans. Under the bill, eligible veterans will be able to partner with either a service dog, support dog, or therapy horse for treatment purposes.

Oregon House Bill 2462 Enacted May 10, 2019
This bill mandates that all defendants be notified at the time of arraignment that their status as a servicemember or veteran may make them eligible for a treatment program or other alternative sentencing instead of jail or prison. Judges may not use military status as an aggravating factor when sentencing. 
In the News
Events Calendar
Make Plans! Upcoming Events Notice

July 22-34 – Washington, DC: 2019 National Conference on Ending Homelessness
August 30-31 – San Diego, CA: Paralyzed Veterans of America Fencing Clinic
September 15-20 – San Diego, CA: National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic
October 11-13 – Monterey, CA: 2019 Women Veterans Alliance UnConference
October 28-November 3 – Kalamazoo, MI: National Veterans Creative Arts Competition

June Events

June 5-10 – Anchorage, AK: National Veterans Golden Age Games
June 7-9 – Richmond, VA: Bass Tour Stop: Old Dominion Brawl, James River (Paralyzed Veterans of America)
June 10 – San Antonio, TX: On Point Women Warriors Writing Workshop
June 15 – Long Beach, CA: 4th Annual Storm the Beach 5K/10K
June 21-22 – Lafayette Hill, PA: 2019 Women Veterans Summer Leadership Retreat
June 26-July 1 – Ojo Sarco, NM: Regaining Balance Retreat for Veterans with PTSD

June 7, 2019 – Flint, MI
June 7, 2019 – Kansas City, MO
June 7, 2019 – Pine Ridge, SD
June 8, 2019 – Elkhart, IN
June 8, 2019 – Kalispell, MT
June 14, 2019 – Brookings, OR
June 14, 2019 – Klamath Falls, OR
June 14, 2019 – Rosebud, SD
June 14, 2019 – Worcester, MA
June 14, 2019 – Wyoming, MI
June 17, 2019 – Socorro, NM
June 19, 2019 – Buffalo, NY
June 22, 2019 – West Liberty, KY
June 25, 2019 – Haverhill, MA
June 27, 2019 – Rochester, MN
June 28, 2019 – Norfolk, NE
June 28 - 30, 2019 – San Diego, CA
June 28, 2019 – Santa Ana, CA
June 29, 2019 – Pittsburgh, PA
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Our mission is to inform policy, practice, and scholarship through the distribution of current veterans treatment court-related resources.   
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