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Omaha veterans organization helping frontline healthcare workers with PTSD

A local organization normally helps veterans with PTSD but now frontline healthcare workers are...
A local organization normally helps veterans with PTSD but now frontline healthcare workers are beginning to need the same help.(kold)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A local organization dedicated to helping veterans with post-traumatic stress now adds another career to their treatment plan - frontline healthcare workers.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is well-documented among military members but with the world being turned upside down during the pandemic, frontline healthcare workers are beginning to experience the same thing.

“I had a lot of triggers in the last couple of years,” said Steve Kane, an Air Force veteran.

For decades Kane lived with trauma stemming from his time in the service, being ganged up on and beaten by five service members. At times, he said, the fear and anxiety were paralyzing.

“I wouldn’t sleep very good, I’d get agitated. I really lost touch with things I was very good at,” said Kane.

His wife finally broke through and convinced him to get the help he needs.

Kane turned to At Ease USA, a Nebraska-based veterans support network. They offer evidence-based therapy to understand, cope, and deal with trauma in healthy ways.

“The underlying thing here is with PTSD, is the more we avoid it, the more it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Hoping it goes away is counterproductive,” said Laura Fischer, an At Ease clinical manager.

“At one point in my career I worked at a hospital, so I had a lot of connections to hospitals,” said Fischer.

In addition to her former work, Fischer’s family has an extensive military background. She’s able to understand how the two worlds - medical and military - often involve shared sacrifice.

Fischer says she knows the pandemic has been difficult on frontline workers and believes that what worked for Kane can work for those in the hospital.

“Although the form of trauma is different, PTSD is dealing with trauma. I’ve seen a lot of success helping PTSD in vets, so we saw the need and wanted to contribute and give back,” said Fischer.

Kane’s treatment began with weekly meetings for a few months with an At Ease therapist. Kane then improved to only needing it every couple of weeks but now, a year later, it’s simply only whenever he needs it.

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