Reopening Home Base: A Special Message from Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond

Dear Friends of Home Base,

Brigadier General (Ret) Jack Hammond Executive Director, Home Base

When Home Base launched its Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) in early 2016, few could have predicted the circumstances in which we would eventually shepherd our 100th cohort through our doors. In March, we made the difficult decision to suspend all in-person programs at Home Base—including the ICP—as the virus began to spread. Our team quickly pivoted to ensure that our patients continued to receive vital mental health care services online, while simultaneously working diligently to prepare our Boston headquarters for a safe reopening. With that, I’m pleased to report that Home Base has now officially reopened, and on July 6th we welcomed our 100th ICP group to our National Center.

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to move forward by reopening other in-person programs when we can do so safely. ICP Cohorts will continue to run every two weeks throughout the year as conditions permit. Our medical and clinical teams have partnered with MGH Infectious Disease to develop and implement safety measures and precautions that will protect both our patients and staff. They will continuously monitor this fluid situation and make changes as necessary to adapt and improve.

The nature of this horrible virus requires us to social distance at a time when we need to be more connected, and we know that thousands require our care. In a new study by Cohen Veterans Network (CVN) and Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI), it is estimated that more than 500 additional Veterans could be lost to suicide annually due in part to a 5% rise in unemployment, and around 20,000 more Veterans could suffer from addiction compared to pre-COVID levels. The increased stress and anxiety we now face, combined with existing mental health injuries, can have deadly results.

This study serves as a blunt reminder of the increased importance of the work we do at Home Base—despite the new challenges we face. Times of uncertainty require us to act with urgency to meet the demands of the mission at hand, and our team is committed to providing safe and effective care to as many Veterans, Service Members, and Families as we can.

Rudyard Kipling once proclaimed that “the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” Regardless of our need to maintain physical distance, we must remain close. Together, we can accomplish anything and ensure that our warriors and their families are not forgotten during these difficult times. On behalf of all of us at Home Base, thank you for your continued support—and helping to make our “Pack” stronger!

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Brigadier General (Ret) Jack Hammond
Executive Director, Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program