Warrior Care Network Brings Light and New Life to Veterans
Sergio Alfaro sat in the middle of a test at Harvard Medical School, but all he could think about were traumatic events that happened in Iraq.
After serving as a medic in Iraq, Sergio followed up his Army and Air Force National Guard career by graduating with honors from UC Riverside and gaining entrance into Harvard Medical School.
It was a dream he had nurtured for a long time. Then, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) unraveled his personal and professional life.
“I couldn’t see past the memories,” Sergio recalled. “I couldn’t see past the feelings. I couldn’t pull up the information that I had worked so hard to learn.”
He was also growing distant from his wife, his family, and friends. He thought he needed to “pull the plug” from his emotions to be able to function, but he only became isolated.
“I saw that the more I tried to cut off my emotions, the more I actually drove people away, and the more people just did not want to be around me or talk to me,” Sergio said. “The people who loved me had left me because they honestly believed that I had become my PTSD and that the person I used to be was gone.”
He ended up withdrawing from med school and feeling he had little to live for after losing his long-term career goal and alienating his loved ones. He contemplated suicide.
Fortunately, in attempting to find help to save his marriage, he found an opportunity to receive veteran PTSD treatment via Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). The nonprofit’s Warrior Care Network® is an outpatient treatment program that makes world-class care at four academic medical centers accessible to warriors at no cost to them.
A Life-Changing Program
Through two- to three-week intensive outpatient programs, Warrior Care Network provides care tailored to each veteran and family member. It integrates behavioral health care, rehabilitative medicine, wellness, nutrition, mindfulness training, and family support.
“One of the unique strengths of Warrior Care Network is that it’s tailor-made for the individual that it’s serving,” said Erin Fletcher, Psy.D., WWP’s Warrior Care Network director. “While we know the symptoms of PTSD are very similar across the individuals who experience those symptoms, we also know what doesn’t work is a cookie-cutter approach to this care.”
Warrior Care Network provides clinical care along with wraparound support to ensure each veteran is getting the best treatment.
“We know that targeting one aspect can provide you with some relief, but we know that what brings the most results is taking a comprehensive, individualized approach to care, and that’s what you would get at Warrior Care Network,” Erin said.
The completion rate for those participating in Warrior Care Network is greater than 90%. “Individuals who come in and put in the work – they get better – and they get better through facing that trauma, and they’re not facing it alone.”
Learn more about how you can support the mental health of wounded warriors and their families.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. www.WoundedWarriorProject.org
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