Veteran Reintegration Program
The Mindfulness Center has developed the Veteran Reintegration Program to provide instruction in Mindfulness based practices to veterans.
Mind-body therapies, such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi are being used by VA hospitals and military organizations across the country to provide relief from the traumas of war and the mental anguish that follows (Smeeding et al., 2010). Research is demonstrating that mind-body interventions are providing these critical safety nets in the form of significant therapeutic benefit, including reducing levels of pain and pain medication, improving quality of sleep, reducing symptoms of stress and PTSD, and improving overall quality of life (Jordan et al, 2011).
The Mindfulness Center provides free classes for veterans. These services include providing classes in meditation, yoga, tai chi and other mind-body practices, as well as individualized evidence-based therapies as approved and used by the VAMC and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, such as acupuncture and individual mental health counseling. Services are provided at The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda, Maryland, within 2 miles of the Walter Reed Medical Center. Veterans who participate in these types of practice twice a week for two months have proven to have reduced levels of perceived stress, reduce levels of pain and associated need for pain medication, improved quality of sleep, and improved family relationships and overall quality of life.
Mindfulness meditation, yoga and other mind-body practices are foundational to physical, mental and emotional well-being, providing the opportunity to greatly improve quality of life for U.S. veterans.Veterans within two years of returning from deployment are invited to take classes at The Mindfulness Center for free. Other free and discounted wellness services are also available for active-duty members of the armed services.
The Mindfulness Center (TMC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health and optimal well-being, for individuals and the community, through charitable, educational and research programs in mind-body practices. The Mindfulness Center has developed the Veteran Reintegration Program to provide instruction in mindfulness-based practices to veterans. Mindfulness meditation, and other forms of moving meditation (yoga and Tai chi) are foundational to physical, mental and emotional well-being, providing the opportunity to greatly improve quality of life for U.S. veterans.
Statement of Need
The Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that in 2010, between 350,000 and 650,000 veterans lived in Maryland. Montgomery County has one of the highest veteran populations within the state, with greater than 50,000 veterans living within the county or at least 5% of the population.
Over 50% of male veterans and 75% of female veterans suffer from chronic pain. The Department of Veteran's Affairs has launched an "Opioid Safety Initiative", replacing the use of addictive opioid prescriptions with the use of evidence-based practices such as meditation, yoga and tai chi to treat pain.
Based on the estimates of the prevalence of PTSD in the veteran population (25%), up to 12,000 veterans in Montgomery County may be suffering from PTSD and other mental health conditions, making mental health care for veterans a critical need in our community. "Honoring and meeting the needs of our military and veteran community is a top priority for me", said Montgomery County Executive Isaiah Leggett.
Mental health concerns are an all-too-frequent result of the extreme stress and trauma that veterans face in circumstances of war. The effects of these concerns include significant deterioration in quality of life, inability to socially relate with family, friends or co-workers, pharmacological complications, loss of sleep and widespread comorbidity.
Mental health concerns occur in alarming proportions among soldiers exposed to war or violence. Surveys have shown an incidence of PTSD as high as 30% amongst soldiers who have returned from service in Iraq. Rates of suicide among veterans are the highest of any population, estimated at 1 out of every 5 suicides, and occurring at an increasingly high rate. Safety nets for this population are critical, and the number of veterans residing in Montgomery County far exceed currently available services (WRAMC).