Eagala will receive $637,700 to fund services shown to improve mental and emotional health of veterans and service members across the United States.
This funding, provided by the VA Adaptive Sport Grant (ASG), will serve veterans and Military servicemembers from Oct 2019- Sept 2020 through equine-assisted psychotherapy – where horses are involved in focused, professional clinical interventions to address trauma and other mental health needs, including substance abuse, depression and improving family relationships.
Eagala received one of the largest awards in recent history with just under half of the $1.5 million specifically designated for equine-assisted mental health within the VA ASG's full budget. The organization's recent grant funding from the VA has nearly tripled, thanks in part to the program evaluation clinical outcomes showing extremely positive results.
The funding will serve veteran and military individuals or groups in partnership with Eagala's national network of Military Designated Programs across the country. Eagala Military Designated programs have facilitation teams of licensed mental health professionals and certified equine professionals who work in partnership with horses to provide services. The Eagala Military Designation was created as a way of setting and maintaining the standard of clinical training and cultural competence required to effectively work with military populations in a mental health setting. There are currently 19 programs in the US that have earned the Eagala Military Designation, and CEO Lynn Thomas expects that number to grow rapidly.
"Eagala is proud to be the only equine-assisted mental health organization in the industry to put forth and maintain these critically important clinical and cultural competence standards," Thomas said. "This grant will enable us to grow our programs providing this effective approach serving veterans."
Halina Kowalski, Eagala Military Services Director, will oversee its management and coordinate collective outcome-based projects in collaboration with Eagala Military Services programs. According to Kowalski, "Very early preliminary program evaluation outcomes from last year's ASG funded programming are showing that veterans are experiencing a clinically meaningful reduction of PTSD symptoms and their quality of life is significantly increasing as well. We are expecting to see this trend continue and we have plans for future research projects and publication."
Data is showing that this population is more likely to start and complete treatment with this model than traditional therapy in an office.
A detailed listing of Eagala Military Designated Programs can be accessed at http://eagala.org/military.