About At Ease USA
At Ease USA supports active military, veterans and their families and loved ones with confidential, research-supported, cost-effective treatment for post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and related disorders.
Our primary goal is to remove obstacles to military families receiving quality treatment.
As an organization, we have no overhead: no rent, no expenses, no employees. We contract with specialists to support fundraising and special events. Otherwise, all work is done by our volunteers and our active and generous Board of Directors.
Donations to At Ease USA (AEU) are tax-deductible through our affiliation with the Omaha Community Foundation, a 501C3 organization with which AEU holds a “charitable checkbook” account. Donations to At Ease USA can only be distributed to other 501C3 organizations. At the moment, that organization is Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, which provides all services and office space for the At Ease clinic located in Bellevue Nebraska (visit www.LFSneb.org).
“Active military, veterans and their families”
At Ease USA is dedicated to treating not only active military and veterans but also their family members and loved ones. We take a holistic, family-based approach for several reasons.
Friends and family can experience PTSD-related symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, as much as servicemen or women. For every service-member affected by PTSD, two or more relatives or friends are typically also affected. But unlike active military and veterans, families and loved ones are typically not eligible for treatment from the Veterans Administration (VA).
In addition, research has shown, and our own experience confirms, that service members’ chances of recovery increase significantly when effected family members are also in recovery.
At Ease USA is 100% confidential. No one will ever know an individual has sought treatment with us unless the client authorizes us to do so. We do not require our clients to provide any form of identification, Social Security number, etc., unless they feel comfortable doing so.
Our clients are not even required to provide their names. We do not share any client records with anyone, especially not any branch of the military, without the client’s written consent.
The reasons for strict confidentiality are numerous.
Less than 35% of veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or both ever pursue treatment from the VA. According to the 2007 Report on Wounded Warriors there is a long-standing stigma within the military against admitting to psychological problems in general, and to PTSD in particular.
For many military, admitting to PTSD is tantamount to cowardice. Some service members are also concerned that a PTSD diagnosis will hamper their careers or threaten their military benefits.
Compounding this stigma is the nature of the disorder itself. PTSD clients often display paranoia, especially regarding authority, including the branches of the military and the VA.
[NOTE: At Ease USA has tremendous respect for and regularly collaborates with the dedicated and skillful professionals at the VA. Whenever possible, we refer veterans and active military to the VA’s PTSD clinics to receive their excellent care.]
One of the founding principles of At Ease USA is that we will only employ the most effective practices and methods for treating PTSD as evidenced by empirical data and research.
We systematically record and analyze pre- and post- treatment data for every client, using metrics most recognized in the field to ensure a superior result regarding functionality and symptoms.
More than just track outcomes for current processes, At Ease USA is also committed to identify and support ongoing research into new treatment options, especially those that employ technology to increase client access to treatment, improve outcomes, and reduce the cost of treatment.
Our goal is not just to constantly improve outcomes, but to continuously strive for better outcomes, faster results, and lower costs per degree of improvement.
Sen. Bob Kerrey:
"The injuries to a war veteran that you cannot see are worse than the ones you can."
What Makes At Ease different?
At Ease is not “the military.” Well-founded or not, there is a documented belief among service members that seeking behavioral health therapy or treatment could adversely affect their military careers or reputation. As a result, the General Accounting Office estimates that only 40 percent of veterans entitled to PTSD services through the VA ever pursue treatment.
The At Ease program, disconnected from the official “military,” is positioned to overcome the strong stigma which exists among military service members against receiving treatment from official sources – both because getting help is considered “unmilitary,” even cowardly, and because mental health disorders themselves can be very difficult to face. This stigma is a primary obstacle to accessing treatment, and with the program’s commitment to confidentiality and its independent status, At Ease circumvents it. At Ease can also help facilitate connections with those who seek VA services.
At Ease serves loved ones, as well as service members. At Ease recognizes that the country’s current state of military affairs, with multiple long-term deployments, stop-loss orders and the subsequent fears and hardships they create, are taxing on loved ones. At Ease provides confidential treatment to a broad scope of these loved ones, while the traditional resources offer only limited programming to individuals who do not fall within the immediate family unit. At Ease recognizes the need for suitable treatment options for our military members’ entire network of support, and serves any individual impacted by having a loved one in the military.
At Ease serves military members regardless of their service status. This includes individuals who have been dishonorably discharged. While these veterans may have made choices that ended their military careers, many of them are facing the same trauma issues as other veterans. At Ease provides confidential treatment to these veterans, many of whom may have been discharged, instead of treated, due to actions symptomatic of PTSD.
At Ease offers an open door policy. Service members, veterans and loved ones who ask for help are able to receive services expeditiously. In addition to the strong stigma that prevents many individuals from seeking treatment from the military healthcare system, lengthy admissions processes and required documentation of service-connected injury regularly act as additional barriers to treatment. At Ease aims to provide easy access to treatment, and does not require extensive documentation as a result.
At Ease provides services to Reservists and Guardsmen. As Reservists and Guardsmen are eligible for only minimal VA benefits, and often reside in rural areas where access to care is limited, At Ease will play a crucial role in serving these new veterans.
At Ease recognizes that significant gaps exist in access to behavioral health care within Nebraska’s military population. Whether stigma, status or financial struggle, these gaps contribute to the insufficient mental health services available to military families. Expanding At Ease to offer in-person services in Central Nebraska positions At Ease to fill the treatment gap for this population.
Board of Directors & Advisory Council
Our group includes experts in military trauma treatment, including psychologists, Masters of Social Work (MSW's) and MD's, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, family members of veterans, and a diverse group of concerned citizens.
Board of Directors
Timothy Burke, President
Josh Weiss, Treasurer
Edward L. Burchfield
Dr. Jim Sorrell
Charles Youngblood, USN
Admiral Bob Bell