Overall Goal: To reduce the suicide rate in US Veterans
Short Term goal: to provide a safe place for reintegration, healing, and learning
Brief description: Saddles for Soldiers was created at SHRC to assist veterans help heal from trauma with the use of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT). At SHRC we understand the statistics that an average of 18 US veterans commit suicide daily (Dept. of Veterans Affairs, 2012). Because of the complex nature of PTSD/ TBI and in addition to substance abuse among this population, the long -term goal of Saddles for Soldiers is to help reduce the suicide rate and help the families of by integrating multivariate interventions including CBT (utilizing Seeking Safety manual), providing ongoing 12-step meetings for substance abuse, and offering experiential therapy with emphasis on EAAT.
Benefits: Mind- we provide comprehensive mental care for societal reintegration, communication, sobriety, and life-skills. Body- we offer riding, physical therapy, and traditional workouts in an outdoor setting, which incorporates team building, mentoring, and learning new skills for empowerment and self-efficacy. Our facility is designed for people with disabilities. Economic Empowerment- we have staff working in higher education able to facilitate a unique learning experience through creative activities, including literacy and building business skills. Engagement-we have a referral system in place by working with advisories in the military, both active duty and veterans who are offering their services for mentoring, connections, and opportunities for growth and wellbeing through Saddles for Soldiers.
Short Term Program Needs: Saddles for Soldiers has immediate needs for equipment such as bareback pads, large stirrups, extra large helmets etc. We also have marketing and basic administration costs. Four three years, SFS has been offering services for free to US Veterans. Immediate needs also include paid program sessions, sponsorship of clients, costs for horse care and maintenance. Each session breaks down to approximately $100.00 per client per 1.5 hours of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.
Long Term Program Needs: Presently, Saddles for Soldiers meets once a week; the group attending are veterans from the VA in Los Angeles. We provide a 12-step meeting for the group members who are in recovery and subsequently two hours of EAAT. The group size averages from 4-9 participants. We feel that veterans do not receive enough proper care and we would like expand both the time spent in interventions, and the variety of techniques offered.