THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION LAUNCHES NATIONAL NETWORK TO COMBAT POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS AND TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AMONG VETERANS AND FIRST RESPONDERS
Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise and his Foundation announce the launch of a cognitive health and mental wellness network providing transformative care to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse: the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network builds on the work of the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH program, and will establish 20 treatment sites nationwide to serve thousands of veterans, first responders, and their families.
“When I formed the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, it was rooted in a personal mission to provide support, raise spirts and improve the mental wellness of our nation’s heroes and their families,” said Gary Sinise, the Foundation’s Founder and Chairman. “Always wanting to do more, as the foundation approaches its 10th anniversary this June, I am proud to announce the launch of the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. This cognitive health and mental wellness network will further expand our services to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse to help heal the invisible wounds afflicting too many of our veterans and first responders, transforming struggle into strength, and lifelong post-traumatic growth.”
Gary Sinise proudly joins together with the Co-founders of The Home Depot and renowned philanthropists Bernie Marcus and Arthur M. Blank, who each invested $20 million from their personal foundations to lay the groundwork for the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. Both are personally motivated to improve and expand upon the care provided to veterans and first responders, and the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network marks the first time that Bernie Marcus and Arthur M. Blank have partnered together since co-founding The Home Depot.
“We’ve lost more veterans to suicide than we have on the battlefields of the Global War on Terror. Our veterans and their families put their lives on the line for us and they deserve the highest level of care available. The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network is ready to serve our veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war,” said Bernie Marcus.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Bernie Marcus again to support a cause that’s important to both of us, the well-being of the individuals in our armed forces and our first responders,” said Arthur M. Blank, Chairman, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. “We’ve found the perfect partner in the Gary Sinise Foundation to scale this idea into a national network that will provide cutting-edge care and improve the quality of life for our nation’s heroes in one of the most critical times in our history.”
Addressing an Epidemic of Invisible Wounds
The national network’s name stems from Arthurian legend: Avalon was the sanctuary where King Arthur was taken to heal physically and spiritually after being wounded in battle. In that spirit, the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network is designed to address and help heal the epidemic of “invisible wounds” that afflict too many of our nation’s veterans and first responders.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) affect nearly 1 out of every 3 military personnel deployed to war zones since 2001. An estimated 30% of our nation’s first responders also experience symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress. Though dubbed “invisible wounds,” the changes in psychological health that accompany these conditions have very visible manifestations, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, and substance abuse, impacting not just the veterans and first responders themselves, but their families as well. Unlike physical wounds, invisible wounds can be passed from one generation to the next. Tragically, these invisible wounds too often can lead to suicide.
The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will expand on the Marcus Institute for Brain Health’s and Boulder Crest Foundation’s expertise and successes to create a nationwide, integrative traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress treatment and training network. By leveraging the science of posttraumatic growth — a framework that explains the positive transformation that can occur following trauma — the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will empower veterans and first responders to cope with, and overcome trauma, and in doing so, transform lives.
Boulder Crest Foundation’s flagship Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program consistently demonstrates significant and longitudinal reductions in symptoms, including: 56% reduction in post-traumatic stress symptoms and a 50% sustained reduction in depression, and a 56% improvement in posttraumatic growth among veterans and first responder participants. Clinical results from the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, which provides specialty care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries, demonstrate a 95% improvement in quality of life and 88% sustained improvement in quality of life among participants after the program’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).
Partners included in the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network include, for post-traumatic stress care: GratitudeAmerica, Camp Southern Ground, The Travis Mills Foundation, The Big Red Barn Retreat, the Permission To Start Dreaming Foundation, and Sheep Dog Impact Assistance. The current partners for traumatic brain injury care include: the Tulane University Center for Brain Health, the SHARE Military Initiative at Shepherd Center, Jefferson Veterans’ Brain Health and Wellness Initiative, and the University of Florida Health Brain Wellness Program.