The Problem

There were 5,240 official reports of sexual assault involving service members in 2016. It’s currently estimated that 77% of service member sexual assaults go unreported.1 A majority of these women may be diagnosed with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault, threatening sexual harassment, rape, or any sexual activity in which someone is involved against their will. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has implemented universal screening for MST, and provides medical and mental health services free of charge to enrolled veterans who report MST.

Stigma is a significant deterrent to reporting MST. Many military service members do not report sexual abuse due to fear of not being believed, worry about career impact, fear of retribution, or a belief that their victimization will be minimized. 2 There is also a perceived stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment after experiencing MST.3

MST survivors:

  • Often report a loss of professional and personal identity
  • Are at increased risk of re-traumatization through blame, misdiagnosis and being questioned about the validity of their experience 4
  • Are at increased risk of retaliation through the process of getting help
  • Have an increased risk of suicide 7

A majority of female veterans who indicated being sexually assaulted during their military service met the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, according to a study of 325 women in Southern California.5 Only 14% of the women reported actually seeking help or treatment immediately after their assault. However, over 75% reported receiving mental health counseling within the past year, or years after assault.

The Fallout

The fallout from military sexual assaults cost the U.S. $3.6 billion in 2013 alone, according to RAND Corporation, an international research organization focusing on public policy, military and national security issues. The estimate is based on a calculation of the cost of medical and mental health services victims are likely to seek after an incident, as well as other “intangible costs”.6

The Treatment

The new approach to treat PTSD is called SGB (Stellate Ganglion Block).

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The current standard of care for PTSD in both civilian and military populations involves one or more pharmacological therapies, psychotherapies such as cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and/or prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. The long duration of time required to obtain beneficial results from current therapies and the stigma that surrounds mental health care in military populations are major barriers that hinder treatment-seeking behavior. All of these treatments have been reported as having a combined efficacy under 25%. 8

SGB (Stellate Ganglion Block)

One of the more promising approaches to treating PTSD is a minimally invasive procedure called Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB). It has recently shown promising results for the relief of certain symptoms of PTSD among military populations.

The SGB procedure involves the injection of a local anesthetic, typically under x-ray guidance, into a nerve bundle called the stellate ganglion, located between the C6 and C7 vertebrae. It is considered to carry minimal risk, and usually offers rapid (30 minutes) and enduring (month to years) relief.

The procedure does not require the patient to describe the nature of the injury, which is especially beneficial for those suffering from MST. It is administered by a non psychiatric doctor, less stigmatizing, and has a marked impact.

Over 2,500 patients have been treated in seven military institutions. Success rates for markedly improving PTSD symptoms currently exceed 70%. Dr. Eugene Lipov has been able to increase success rates to over 80% by modifying the medication injected and procedure.

Funds

We Are Raising Funds to Treat Victims of MST Who Suffer PTSD.

What Happens to Funds Raised?

The Healing Hero Fund helps build a foundation we started for veterans, the Global Post-Traumatic Stress Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Over 90% of the funds are used to treat patients suffering severe PTSD symptoms. The cost of SGB is $1,000 to $1,500 per procedure.

Please make a fully tax deductible contribution today to help us treat 1,000 female veterans with MST/PTSD diagnosis. Please contact us to donate air miles to transport personnel for treatment.

About

Our Values, Our Foundation: Global Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation.

The Global Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation (GPTSIF) received its not-for-profit status in 2009. The goal of the organization has remained the same since its beginning: to treat patients with PTSD, and to continually research for a more effective way to treat PTSD. The foundation was formed by Dr. Eugene Lipov, the doctor first to perform SGB in treatment for PTSD in 2006, and published in 2008. Dr. Lipov is currently the Chief Science Officer of GPTSIF and has treated over 300 patients with PTSD, many at his personal expense.

Contact

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Address

Healing Hero

Global Post-Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation
13620 Reese Blvd. E., Suite 100
Huntersville, NC 28078
CEO Lane Ostrow
844-SGB-PTSD (844-742-7873)
FAX: 224-777-2101
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If you would like to donate to our Global Post Traumatic Stress Injury Foundation, a 501c3 organization, please click the donate button below.

1) Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2015 (2016). http://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY15_Annual/FY15_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault_in_the_Military.pdf
2) Valente, S. & Wright, C. (2007). Military Sexual Trauma: Violence and Sexual Abuse. Military Medicine, 172 (3), 259-265
3) Greene-Shortridge, T.M., Britt, T.W., & Castro, C.A. (2007). The stigma of mental health problems in the military. Military Medicine, 172(2), 157-161
4) Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2015 (2016). Retrieved from http://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/FY15_Annual/FY15_Annual_Report_on_Sexual_Assault_in_the_Military.pdf
5) "Sexual Trauma in the Military: Exploring PTSD and Mental Health Care Utilization in Female Veterans" (PDF, 58KB) by Sara Kintzle, PhD, University of Southern California, et al. Sara Kintzle (213) 821-3605
6) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/16/military-sexual-assault-cost_n_3606413.html
7) Kimerling, Rachel, et al. "Military sexual trauma and suicide mortality." American journal of preventive medicine 50.6 (2016): 684-691
8) Hoge CW (2011) Interventions for war-related posttraumatic stress disorder: meeting veterans where they are. JAMA 306: 549-551.