Program Helps Combat Vets With Depression, PTSD

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A new program at River Hospital in Alexandria Bay aims to get combat veterans back on their feet. 

The River Community Wellness Program provides intensive outpatient care to soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress and depression. 

The soldiers come to the hospital for five hours, five days a week for treatment. 

It's considered a step back into the community for combat veterans who have been hospitalized for mental health reasons. 

"A soldier who has been hospitalized for a length of time, instead of coming out of the hospital and trying to jump right back in to their daily life, our program is really a step down for them, we give them some more coping skills, some more mechanisms to deal with symptoms. We get them a little more stable and ready to integrate back into their way of life," said Brad Frey, program director.

They are combat veterans who came home from war with emotional scars. 

The 10 soldiers enrolled in the program suffer from post traumatic stress or depression. 

When they come to River Hospital, they take part in group sessions as well as art therapy and yoga.

"These guys have sacrificed a lot, you know they stood in harm's way to ensure our own freedom and our own safety and I think we owe them every opportunity to get better," said Frey.

River hospital is partnering with Holliswood Hospital in Queens as well as Fort Drum which shuttles soldiers to and from therapy. 

The program is two years in the making.

"It's been a while getting it going, but it's well worth the effort," said CEO Ben Moore.

The program opened its doors officially on February 19. 

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in April. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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