New center offers free PTSD treatment to veterans

PTSD GRAPHIC FINAL2The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at USC opened its doors Wednesday to post-9/11 veterans and their families seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.

The clinic arose from a $15.7 million donation by Steven A. Cohen, CEO of Point72 Asset Management, through his foundation, the Cohen Veterans Network. This family clinic, located on Flower Street, is a collaboration between Cohen’s foundation, the USC School of Social Work, and the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Out of the 2.6 million post-9/11 veterans, 40 percent do not access the healthcare available to them, and 20 percent experience post-traumatic stress, according to Veterans and PTSD. It’s the hope of the clinic, Arnett said, to reverse that trend by using innovative technology, social support and community interaction to help both veterans and their families continue on with their lives.

One of the goals of the clinic, according to director Kathryn Arnett, is to go above and beyond therapy sessions and provide veterans with the tools they need to transition into civilian life.

“The kind of services veterans seek are not just a 15-minute behavioral health session,” Arnett said. “They’re looking for things like housing and social support and resources and how to access those resources.” 

The Cohen Military Clinic integrates family care with veteran care because children, partners and close friends are also negatively impacted by a service member’s post-traumatic stress.

“What makes us different is that we provide care for families of service members,” Arnett said.

For many veterans, getting to a clinic isn’t feasible because of distance or disability, so the Cohen Military Clinic plans to create satellite clinics in order to provide veterans with the care they need without having to leave their homes. One of Arnett’s goals for the future of the clinic is to bring holistic care to veterans throughout California, not just those around the USC location.

“The most important goal is that we meet veterans where they are,” Arnett said. “Our outreach team is already out in the community working with veterans side by side, letting them know what our services are and how we can help.”

Arnett said that a highlight of the Cohen Military Clinic is its care for veterans who are not covered by the U.S. Veterans Association, including those who served in the National Guard or Reserves.

“We work with veterans that have an other than honorable discharge,” Arnett said. “We also have a very robust tele-mental health program.”

In addition to hosting the Cohen Military Clinic, the School of Social Work has trained 1,300 students in military social work, and the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families is providing the community with evidence-based care.

The $15.7 million donation by the Cohen Foundation is part of a larger donation of $275 million to create the Cohen Veterans Network, launched in April 2016, that will provide care to veterans across the country at 25 clinics.

USC is the third clinic to open. There are four other clinics open in Texas and Pennsylvania.