In addition to disseminating products created by the National Center for PTSD, technology is helping to build public awareness of the overall impact of trauma as well as the prevention, understanding, and treatment of PTSD.
Website. The National Center for PTSD's public website reached over 1.8 million visitors this fiscal year, with an average of nearly 5,000 visits per day. It continues to serve as our major dissemination vehicle for trauma and PTSD educational material. This year the Provider/Professional section of the site was reorganization and we added a new legend for product types, materials for printing, logos and widgets, and a specific page for VA providers and staff. Usability testing and a website satisfaction survey are underway. A mobile version of the website is in development to broaden our reach to individuals who prefer to access the web on mobile devices.
VA PTSD Intranet. The National Center for PTSD's Intranet site on the VA network provides additional information specifically for VA providers and use continues to increase. In an effort to make the Intranet site more useful to VA clinicians, the site will soon be rebuilt and renamed PTSD PRO (Practitioner Resources Online). The new site will be a practical information resource for all VHA mental health providers treating PTSD. VA clinicians will be able to use some resources during treatment sessions and provide others to patients and/or their family members.
Online Communication. The National Center for PTSD continues to email out our PTSD Monthly Update to over 9,000 subscribers, which strives to highlight a particular topic and the National Center for PTSD resources in support of this topic. Tweets are sent out four times per week to over 2,000 Twitter users and our new PTSD Facebook page is accessed by over 2,000 fans as of August 2011.
PTSD 101. PTSD 101 continued to grow in 2011, with four new courses completed. "Aging and PTSD" and "Resilience to Stress and Trauma" were added to the regular PTSD 101 curriculum. "Acute Stress Management" and "Cognitive Processing Therapy" are part of a 12-course series currently underway focusing on the VA/DoD 2010 Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD.
Advanced Training for Providers. This fiscal year the National Center for PTSD began developing longer advanced online training, one on Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR) and one on anger management. These are being created to provide clinicians with strategies to assist patients who are either not ready for PE/CPT or who have had PE/CPT but continue to have trouble with affect regulation and anger. A third course on PTSD chain analysis, a method of assessment and case formulation, is also in development.
Provider Self-Care Resources. The Self-Care Toolkit designed to assist staff who are experiencing stress and burnout is in development. Materials range in nature from simple resources on ways to implement health improvement strategies to longer courses on how to decrease and prevent stress and burnout.
Educator Resources. The National Center for PTSD is also developing an Educator Toolkit, designed to assist college staff and professors in supporting Veterans in successful completion of higher education. Information and guidance on Veteran culture, readjustment, mental health challenges, and how to best support Veterans will be included.
Employment Initiatives. The National Center for PTSD currently has three ongoing employment initiatives. The first is the Employment Toolkit, designed to assist employers in supporting their Veteran employees. The toolkit will have an additional section for Employee Assistance Program (EAP) professionals working with Veterans. For the second employment initiative, we partnered with Aetna Health, Inc., who has one of the largest national EAP provider panels, to create materials and online trainings for EAP providers that help them better respond to Veterans with mental health problems and their families. Third, the National Center for PTSD has been tasked by OMHS to oversee a contract-based study of needs and best practices for supporting both employers and Veterans in the private sector workplace.
"Caring for Women Veterans" Program. As more women access VA health care, they may receive care from health-care workers who are not accustomed to treating women. In fiscal year 2011, National Center for PTSD staff from the Women's Health Sciences Division, updated and converted to web format a training designed to enhance VA staff sensitivity and knowledge related to women Veterans' health-care needs.
"Conducting Research with Women Veterans" Program. The Women's Health Sciences Division has developed a web-based training program that is intended to orient researchers to issues specific to women Veterans that may impact research, familiarize researchers with important considerations for interacting with, recruiting, and conducting research with women, and address some of the challenges related to accessing the population of women Veterans.
COMMEND. The National Center for PTSD is collaborating with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System to create a dashboard to assist providers in the monitoring of provider practices and patient service utilization. Key features include extracting data from the medical record system, tracking standard symptoms and outcomes, tracking medications and side effects, and the ability to review the entire patient panel with a click.
AboutFace PTSD Awareness Campaign. A new initiative this year is our AboutFace awareness campaign. Through a series of short, intimate Veteran testimonials we hope to help Veterans recognize that the problems they are struggling with may be PTSD and to make them aware that effective treatments can help them "turn their lives around."
Mobile Phone Applications. The National Center for PTSD's Dissemination and Training Division is developing a suite of applications (apps) for mobile devices. Mobile apps provide a way to reach individuals wherever they are, whenever they need support. In fiscal year 2011, the first app, PTSD Coach was developed with DoD's T2 Center. In the first seven months it was downloaded more than 35,000 times in over 50 countries. Other apps will include the PTSD Family Coach, an app for disaster mental health responders, and apps that support the delivery of evidence-based mental health treatments including PE, CPT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, and Behavioral Activation.
VA Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT). In fiscal year 2011, the National Center for PTSD began development of VA CRAFT, a web-based self-help program for concerned significant others of Veterans with alcohol and other substance use disorders and/or PTSD who are reluctant to seek professional care. This program is based on community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT), which intervenes with the significant others to help them increase the probability that their substance abusing loved one will reduce substance use and seek treatment.
Understanding PTSD Treatment. The National Center for PTSD launched, "Understanding PTSD Treatment," an online presentation about the various types of evidence-based treatment for PTSD. This course contains video interviews from experts in the field answering questions from patients, as well as Veterans who have participated in treatment.
Afterdeployment.org. The National Center for PTSD and the DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) continued collaborative work on afterdeployment.org (AD), an Internet-based resource for self-management of post-deployment stress in recent returnees of Iraq and Afghanistan. In fiscal year 2011, emphasis moved toward ways of implementing AD in the context of provider care. Pilot projects were initiated in a university campus setting and within an urban VA outpatient specialized PTSD program. These will examine the impact of one section of the AD site (post-traumatic stress multi-session workshop) on patient outcomes and explore provider perceptions of the intervention tool.
Clinician's Trauma Update-Online (CTU-Online). Subscriptions continue to rise for CTU-Online, an electronic newsletter that provides summaries of articles from a variety of journals that have particular relevance for clinicians, with special emphasis on articles dealing with treatment and assessment of Veterans. Produced every other month, brief article summaries containing links to the full text article are emailed to over 9,000 clinicians. In 2011, both the email message announcing the new issue and the issue pdf were redesigned.
PTSD Research Quarterly. The PTSD Research Quarterly provides expert reviews of the scientific literature on specific topics and is intended primarily for researchers and scientists. Subjects covered during FY 2011 included, "Trauma and PTSD among Civilians in the Middle East," "PTSD and the Law: An update," "Health Services Use in the Department of Veterans Affairs among Returning Iraq War and Afghan War Veterans with PTSD," and "Trauma and PTSD in Japan."
PTSD Resource Center and PILOTS Database. The PTSD Resource Center, created by the National Center for PTSD, houses a book collection that has grown to more than 2,700 volumes containing multiple citations, which together with more than 34,000 journal articles, makes the Resource Center the world's largest collection of literature on traumatic stress. The PILOTS (Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress) database, based on this collection, is an electronic index to the worldwide literature on PTSD and other mental-health consequences of exposure to traumatic events. The PILOTS database now includes over 44,000 records with materials in 30 languages. PILOTS provides online links to full text versions of over 25,000 publications, including relevant articles written by National Center for PTSD staff.
Print Materials. The National Center for PTSD created several print-based materials for distribution in fiscal year 2011. Complete products aimed at Veterans and the general public include the "What is PTSD" brochure," a brief information resource on stress reactions, PTSD, and PTSD treatment, and a tri-fold "What is PTSD" card. Under development is a color Resource Handout that describes the resources we make available in print on our website. A version of the handout for Providers was completed this year.