Home Grant to aid returning vets deal with brain injuries

Grant to aid returning vets deal with brain injuries


The Partnership for People with Disabilities at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education and the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, Virginia Department of Veterans Services, have received a grant to ease the return of war veterans to their homes and communities throughout Virginia.

The Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund awarded $398,700 to fund the project Common Ground: Linking Wounded Warriors and Community Support Providers. This three-year, statewide collaborative project will provide training and resources to help community support providers throughout Virginia – including volunteers, brain injury service providers, clinicians and peers – work with veterans with traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their families.

“Training our service providers to understand the military context and culture in which combat stress and traumatic brain injuries occur is essential,” said Cathy Wilson, executive director of the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program. “We are establishing a new services system based in communities throughout the Commonwealth. Education is key to understanding and supporting our military service members and families as they transition to civilian life.”

The magnitude of the support needed by veterans has increased and the type of support needed has shifted with recent wars. According to the National Council on Disability, more than 1.6 million American service members have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Among returning troops, an estimated 25 percent to 40 percent have PTSD or traumatic brain injury. Virginia ranks among the top 10 states in the country in number of service members deployed in these wars.

PTSD and traumatic brain injury are “invisible wounds” that challenge both veterans and their families and the communities that want to support them. Through this project, the partnership and the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program will work through community services boards in five regions of Virginia to ensure that providers are prepared and community supports and services are readily available and welcoming to all service members – in particular, those with PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

The Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (http://www.dvs.virginia.gov/woundedwarrior/) was created by legislation approved unanimously in the Virginia General Assembly in 2008 and signed into law by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. The program coordinates support services for veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves who have stress-related and traumatic brain injuries resulting from service in a combat area.



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