AEU extends access of PTSD services to support frontline healthcare workers

OMAHA, Neb. -- At Ease USA (AEU) started as a mission to support active military, veterans and families afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). AEU has grown to include Nebraska's frontline healthcare workers who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD. 

Through AEU - an independently funded nonprofit - those who are affected by PTSD can receive confidential, research-based and cost-effective treatment. 

“People often associate PTSD with the those who served in combat, and there certainly is an elevated risk with men and women currently serving in the military, veterans and their loved ones,” said Gail Williams, Board President of At Ease USA. “However, we know that PTSD doesn’t discriminate. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on frontline healthcare workers and, as the delta variant surges, they’re again battling exhaustion and struggling mentally."

A recent study shows concerning rates of depression and PTSD among the nation’s healthcare workers. The study was conducted by the Yale School of Public Health, and found that nearly one-quarter (22.8%) of all healthcare workers showed signs of probable PTSD, including burnout, nightmares, insomnia and lack of motivation.

“It’s also a difficult time for many war veterans," said Williams. "The recent events in Afghanistan are causing some veterans to relive trauma from past deployments, so we’ve seen an uptick of people reaching out for help over the past few weeks. In our experience we know that oftentimes people are hesitant to seek treatment, because they believe it could impact their careers or reputation. This stigma is the primary obstacle to accessing treatment - and it’s the reason that our program is completely confidential.”

AEU’s statewide network of experienced mental health professionals use many approaches to address PTSD, including Attention Training; which was developed in partnership with Creighton University and Tel Aviv University. 

Attention Training is a new noninvasive, web-based software that changes disrupted threat processing connected with PTSD without the patient needing to discuss or relive traumatic events. 

“This is really cutting-edge treatment,” Williams said. “It’s not like traditional therapy. It takes ten minutes per appointment and has proven to reduce PTSD symptoms in just four to eight sessions.”

AEU’s network of providers can be found in locations across Nebraska -- including Broken Bow, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln, Loup City, North Platte and the Omaha metro.

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