BROOKS — RETURNING HOME a trauma and wellness retreat from 30 combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD will be held Oct. 10-15, at Fair Haven Camps. The retreat, free to all combat veterans taking part, will provide therapeutic services based on the Community Health Somatic Experiencing® curriculum presented by Dr. Peter A. Levine.
“The Brooks location is a safe, welcoming place for these veterans to begin their healing,” said Dr. Alexandra Whitney, RETURNING HOME’s retreat director. “The woods, lake, and facilities at Fair Haven Camps will be ideal for all the services and activities we will be providing at no cost to the veterans coming to Maine at the height of the mid-coast foliage season.”
Those direct services will include Somatic ExperiencingTM -based clinical and therapeutic services, including group, individual and equine therapy. The veterans will also participate in meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices, as well as canoeing, and hiking.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), the number of suicides among all active duty military service members is one per day. Among combat veterans, that total jumps to twenty each day, or nearly one every hour. There are now more casualties attributable to suicide than to combat among the military’s active-duty population. Many of those who take their lives have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The demand to address the needs of military veterans with PTSD is so high that the VA Mission Act became law last year. It directs the DVA to expand access to VA-funded care in the private sector. This will increase effective alternative therapies and provide trauma-informed treatment to women and men dealing with PTSD as a result of their military service.
“That is the reason for this first RETURNING HOME retreat,” said Dr. Whitney. “It will not only provide these services to veterans who need them, but will be a model for future retreats, including at least one every year in Maine.”
The October 2019 RETURNING HOME at Fair Haven Camps in Brooks, Maine is a pilot project. It will include a research element to measure its effectiveness with individual followup services, and will contain a control group of veterans who attend a RETURNING HOME retreat next year.
RETURNING HOME will be led by Dr. Peter A. Levine, who developed the Somatic Experiencing® method, and has worked in the field of stress and trauma for more than 40 years. His organization has trained more than 12,000 practitioners in six countries. During the RETURNING HOME retreat, Dr. Levine will be assisted by Dr. Alexandra Whitney, Senior Faculty Dave Berger, and a staff of experienced SETM practitioners and licensed professionals.
Tax-deductible donations are now being accepted in support of RETURNING HOME. A generous matching gift will double the value of all contributions. The donations will pay for all food, lodging, travel costs, and program services provided to the participating veterans. According to Dr. Whitney, “your gift of $2,000 supports a RETURNING HOME participating veteran for the entire retreat. Gifts of $1,000 support all Somatic Experiencing® services for a participating veteran, and $500 supports a travel stipend.” She added, “All gifts, of any amount, will support combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD, and make RETURNING HOME a success.”
The RETURNING HOME retreat website and a PayPal link are at returning-home.com.
To refer someone for participation, or for additional information on RETURNING HOME, its sponsors, and its presenters, or more detail on its program model and daily activities, contact Dr. Alexandra Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text or phone to 303-588-4939.