UCCS gets grant to treat brain injuries, PTSD

June 19, 2013 Updated: June 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Veterans who are ineligible to receive assistance from the Veterans Administration due to the status of their discharge will soon be able to receive free or reduced cost mental health care from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs thanks to a $2 million grant, the university announced Wednesday.

The grant, from part-time Colorado Springs resident Lyda Hill, will allow the university's Trauma, Health, & Hazards Center to establish a Veteran Health and Trauma Clinic, slated to open early next year.

The clinic will see clients with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other combat-induced injuries, according to the press release, which added that many client visits will be subsidized and reserved for individuals ineligible for veteran benefits.

"We want to be able to provide someone who doesn't have benefits at all with those services for free, or maybe using a sliding scale based on income," said Charles Benight, a professor of psychology at the university who founded the Trauma, Health, & Hazards Center in 2001.

"We hope not to have to turn people away."

The clinic will use a "wellness-based approach" that employs evidenced-based trauma care but incorporates less traditional therapies such as yoga, massage and fitness, he said.

The clinic will also serve the spouses and adult loved ones of veteran clients, he added.

The grant will also allow the university of launch a new veteran health and trauma track to the university's clinical psychology doctoral degree in 2015.

Benight will lead the new program and serve as the chair of veteran health and trauma, a new senior faculty position funded by the grant.

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