At Ease Expands Services to
22 Counties in Central Nebraska
Active military and reservists returning home to Central Nebraska now have local access to mental health and peer support that was unavailable before now.
At Ease USA and Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS) are now offering a new program in its Grand Island office. At Ease is trauma treatment and therapeutic support for active military, veterans and their loved ones. An important part of the program is peer-to-peer support through Vets 4 Vets groups being held in surrounding counties.
“We know that these support groups are crucial to a successful recovery for so many of these heroes,” says Paul Greenwell, statewide supervisor of the At Ease program. “Their shared experiences can significantly reduce the sense of isolation they feel when they come home.”
Nebraska has 8,894 Reservists and National Guard Members, with an additional 16 individuals in the Coast Guard Reserve. Grand Island houses seven companies, with an additional seven Reserve and Guard units in surrounding communities. These Reservists and Guardsmen are eligible for only minimal VA benefits. 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 these military families.
At Ease services are funded by Region 3 Behavioral Health Services, the Kiewit Foundation and At Ease USA.
At Ease is headquartered in Sarpy County at 730 Fort Crook Road North in Bellevue, in part to provide easy access to active military service members and their families who are stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. Because of our partnership with Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, we are able to assist military personnel and their families in over 15 locations across the state.
Many behavioral/cognitive treatment options exist that, when used individually and in combination, can offer positive results for PTSD sufferers. Several therapies are in place within the program. The therapies with proof of effectiveness which comprise the four principal treatment modalities are:
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Prolonged Exposure (PE)
- Systematic Training in Interpersonal and Affective Regulation (STAIR)
At Ease also includes peer-to-peer group therapy and support sessions, both for veterans and for family members. Clients are offered individual and family sessions.
Clients enrolling in At Ease are screened during a telephone interview. They then participate in two on-site sessions for assessment and evaluation. The first includes demographic information and assessments such as the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), Inventory of Altered Self-Capabilities (IASC), the McLean Behavior Assessment and Identification of Symptoms (Basis32), and the Detailed Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress (DAPS). The second session will include completion of an interview and Mental Status Examination. Participants will undergo the interview and tests an additional two more times. The first upon completion of the trauma treatment or after the first skills training phase of treatment and again after the completion of the second, trauma-treatment phase of the program. Between these treatment milestones, individuals will receive treatment as often as their schedules permit for an estimated period of nine months to a year. For example, some clients access onsite-treatment on a weekly basis, while others come every other week. Trauma treatment doesn't happen overnight. Individuals can seek treatment through At Ease for as long as they desire. A full review of the treatment plan combined with the "PTSD Checklist – Stressor Specific Version" will be completed at three-month intervals.
Currently, At Ease USA is working to launch a new teletherapy initiative based on a "Skype-type" technology which would reach military families across the state of Nebraska. At Ease clients would have the ability to participate in private or group therapy sessions in the security of their homes via the internet, maintaining their privacy in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. At Ease USA is also coordinating with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to provide telehealth services in hospitals across Western Nebraska.