A new pilot program will support veterans and emergency service workers living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Substance Use Disorders (SUD) outside of hospital and acute medical settings thanks to a $300,000 grant from the NSW Government.


Nationals Member of the Legislative Council Ben Franklin said the program would provide a welcome boost.


“It makes me incredibly proud to deliver this innovative program to the Northern Rivers and to follow through on an important election commitment I made to the community.”


“This program will change lives and I look forward to seeing the results of the pilot,” Mr Franklin said.


The Concurrent Treatment of PTSD and Substance Use Disorders (SUD) using Prolonged Exposure is known as the ‘COPE’ Program. It will be trialled in a residential facility and as part of a community rehab program.


Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said it would benefit veterans through a range of services. 


“This is designed to support all-around recovery for people living with complex mental illness through group therapy, psychoeducation, meditation and exercise,” Minister Taylor said.


“It’s about helping people rediscover a meaning and purpose in life as well as a positive sense of self.”


“The Buttery has been working on ensuring participants get the best possible outcomes from the program”, CEO Leone Crayden said.


“We have worked with the developers of the COPE program, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, who came to the Byron Shire last year and trained Buttery staff and several private psychologists in the program implementation.” 


The pilot will welcome the first participants for a six-week residential program commencing in February 2021, after which they will be supported for a further three months with after-care counselling. There will be three, six, nine and 12-month psychometric testing undertaken to evaluate the pilot program subsequent to participants returning to the community.