LAS CRUCES, N.M.)- Integrating evidence based therapies for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with complementary and alternative methods will be the centerpiece of the 2012 PTSD Veterans' Wellness Conference in Las Cruces from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Friday, November 2, at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

The free conference is for veterans and National Guard or Reserve members from southern New Mexico and the El Paso, Texas area. Spouses, family members and caregivers are also encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided. Check-in begins at 7 a.m.

As an incentive to encourage PTSD-diagnosed veterans or National Guard/Reserve members to attend, a free $40 Walmart Gift Card will be given to the first 150 veterans or National Guard/Reserve members who pre-register (spouses, family members or caregivers are not eligible for the gift card).

Nationwide, the VA estimates up to 15% of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be suffering from PTSD - though the number could be higher because many may be undiagnosed due to a veteran's unwillingness to come forward and seek help.

"We are excited about presenting this conference because of what it offers for both veterans and behavioral health professionals," said New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services Cabinet Secretary Timothy Hale. "We need to think 'outside the box' for treating veterans diagnosed with PTSD, because sometimes the traditional treatment methods are not as effective as they should be."

"There should be no shame in coming forward and seeking help for post-combat readjustment issues," said New Mexico VA Health Care System Director George Marnell.


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"If a veteran will not do it for themselves, they should at least do it for their family and loved ones - because they also suffer along with the veteran."

The conference will present the latest in traditional clinical treatment methods used by the New Mexico VA Health Care System, as well as presentations showcasing non-clinical methods such as massage, faith-based, acupuncture, Yoga, equine-assisted and other non-traditional healing therapies which may also be used to treat PTSD.

An integrative approach using clinical and non-clinical treatments for treating behavioral health issues has been used by health care professionals in many parts of the country.

"The VA is the recognized leader in treating combat PTSD with evidence based approaches," said Hoyt Roberson, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and behavioral health trainer for Presbyterian Medical Services. "But there are also some exciting alternative and complementary treatment methods which have been introduced in both the federal and private sectors, and this conference will show how these can combine to provide a broader approach to wellness for veterans."

In addition to presentations about PTSD, there will also be discussions on diet/nutrition and Alzheimer's disease, another growing concern facing not only veterans but the overall general population.

The Las Cruces Convention Center is located at 680 East University Avenue in Las Cruces. Though the conference is free, early registration is strongly recommended. For more information and to pre-register, contact New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services Public Information Officer Ray Seva toll-free at 1-(866) 433-8387 or ray.seva@state.nm.us.