A stress-related disorders research and treatment program under development within the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and UC Health has received an early boost with support from one of Cincinnati’s biggest sports stars.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto, through his recently launched Joey Votto Foundation, announced the investment of resources to the UC Health Foundation to fund a military families stress disorders program for service members, veterans and military families affected by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The initial investment is $250,000, UC officials said.
Votto made the announcement Thursday, Dec. 5, in a news conference at the Green Diamond Gallery in Montgomery. The news conference preceded a sold-out fundraiser for the Joey Votto Foundation, newly created by Votto with Jill Miller as executive director.
"For me to give back in some sort of way means a tremendous amount,” said Votto, who also plans to help support PTSD programs in his native Toronto.
"I chose to help those who are affected by PTSD because of my past experiences with emotional struggles,” he added in a news release distributed by his foundation. "I’ve had panic attacks and depression, which are symptoms experienced by those with PTSD. I want to help others who are going through mental health issues, so I chose this path. I’m very passionate about it.”
According to reports in Cincinnati media, Votto was "totally overwhelmed” by grief and anxiety following the 2008 death of his father, Joseph Votto. During the 2009 season, Votto went to a hospital twice for emergency treatment and was placed on Major League Baseball’s 15-day disabled list with stress-related issues.
The Joey Votto Foundation is working with UC’s psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience department and UC Health Psychiatry as they develop a stress disorders program, to be known as the Stress Related Disorders Center (SRDC), under the direction of Kathleen Chard, PhD, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at UC. Chard is also director of the Trauma Recovery Center at the Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.
The Votto Foundation wishes to fund a Military Stress Disorders Program housed within the SRDC, which is expected to launch in early 2014. The focus of care—delivered through UC Health Psychiatry—would be on patients who are either unwilling to receive care at the VA or are in need of care that the VA does not offer, such as family therapy.
"In this program, we will offer services for those veterans who want individual care, but we will also offer group care, family care, child care and couples care if that’s what they need—and all of that is going to be covered for every individual that needs it.”
Chard said the goal is to be able to provide care for approximately 500 new patients and over 4,000 visits/therapy sessions annually.