Expanding Clinical Reach
Creative Forces® refines, replicates, and scales clinical programs to increase access to creative arts therapy services for targeted military-connected populations at military medical and Veterans Health Administration facilities, including telehealth delivery of care for patients in rural and remote areas.
Creative Forces® creative arts therapists provide an estimated 23,000 clinical encounters, and serve approximately 3,200 new patients every year at clinical sites.
Creative Forces® includes 21 NEA-funded and 8 DoD/VA-funded creative arts therapists (CATs) as of January 2021.
Creative Forces® invests in research on the impacts and benefits – physical, social, and emotional – of creative arts therapies as innovative treatment methods.
Key clinical research findings indicate that creative arts therapies can enable recovery from traumatic experiences, reduce symptoms associated with PTSD, foster the ability to experience hope and gratification, and reduce isolation and stigma associated with traumatic brain injuries and associated psychological health issues.
Expanding Community-based Arts Engagement Opportunities
Since 2017, Creative Forces® has invested in community arts engagement activities in order to advance our understanding of their benefits and impacts for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma. Creative Forces® funded ten Community Connections projects taking place from 2018-2020 near existing clinical Creative Forces® sites.
Community engagement findings based on a study of these projects found that military-connected individuals who participated in the programs and the community arts providers reported a range of benefits for the participants falling generally into four areas:
1. improved mental health and/or quality of life
2. increased sense of community
3. improved artistic skills, and
4. increased empowerment.
Building Capacity Across Clinical and Community Care
The Creative Forces® National Resource Center was launched in July 2020 to provide online capacity-building support for the initiative.
Online support tool features and services:
1. help manage knowledge distribution
2. support consistent delivery of clinical treatment
3. coordinate research
4. facilitate data collection
5. support training and collaboration efforts for stakeholders across clinical and community efforts to support our military and veteran-connected populations.