20210909-LOC-Retreat

The Brattleboro Retreat as shown in this file photo.

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Retreat recently reopened its mental health program for first responders and other uniformed professionals, the psychiatric and addiction center announced Tuesday, after closing it last year due to pandemic-related concerns.

The Uniformed Service Program — initially opened in 2009 in person, but now being offered remotely — provides two outpatient treatment services, according to a news release from the Retreat.

The program is for active or retired professionals in law enforcement, military, fire, corrections or emergency medical services who are dealing with duty-related problems including PTSD, depression and addiction.

“This is an important step forward in our efforts to re-start programs that were forced to close in 2020 due to the pandemic,” Louis Josephson, CEO of the Retreat, said in the release. “Because of the lockdown and other covid-related stressors, we expect that demand for our USP service will be even greater than it was pre-pandemic.”

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that may occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, the American Psychiatric Association says.

Those with PTSD have intense thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event occurred. They may relive the event or have nightmares, and people with PTSD often avoid situations that remind them of it, according to the association.

The Retreat’s program reopened Aug. 2 and is being offered via telehealth to keep patients and providers safe amid the pandemic, spokesman Jeff Kelliher said in an email. Up to 12 patients can be enrolled in the program at once, he added.

The Uniformed Service Program offers an intensive outpatient treatment program and a partial hospital program. Despite its name, the latter is also outpatient, according to Kelliher.

Most people start in the partial hospital program, according to the Retreat’s website, and then step down to the intensive outpatient program. Time spent in the Uniformed Service Program varies, depending on the patient’s need.

More information on the program can be found at brattlebororetreat.org/usp or by calling 1-800-RETREAT.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.