More than 75,000 Illinoisans have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) occur among an estimated one-third of returning veterans.
These invisible wounds of war are complex, highly individualized and can impede the ability to reintegrate at home and at work. All too often, these conditions go untreated with tragic consequences: on average, 22 veterans in the U.S. commit suicide each day.
To address the full range of challenges facing veterans suffering from trauma-induced disorders and injuries, as well as the unique needs of family members, Rush has established the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush.
Several leadership gifts — including nearly $2 million in support from the Crown Family Philanthropies; Michael Reese Health Trust; MillerCoors; Bank of America; State Farm; the Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc.; and Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Major League Baseball through the Welcome Back Veterans initiative — are enabling Rush to hire key staff and put in place critical resources for veterans and their families.
“We want to ensure that Illinois veterans can connect with the resources they need to take control of their health and family life,” said Mark Pollack, MD, chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry at Rush. “This center leverages Rush’s unique strengths in mental health, rehab and other specialties to meet the needs of Chicago-area veterans and their loved ones.”
Opened in 2014, the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush offers peer-to-peer outreach and service navigation, evidence-based care for PTSD and TBI, child and family counseling, public awareness programming, and training for primary care physicians and others.
Rush's center operates in a spirit of collaboration, connecting clients to social services, education and vocational programming via local organizations. The center complements the many other important psychiatric and outreach services to veterans already offered by local Veterans Administration medical centers Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital; Jesse Brown VA Medical Center; and Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.