New Online Video Helps Veterans Navigate the Difficult Path to Mental Health Care

A Combat Veteran, a daughter of a Combat Veteran and renowned PTSD Expert Share Their Experiences and Offer Advice

Palo Alto, CA - According to the Veteran’s Administration approximately 22 veterans die by suicide every day.  And less than 50 percent of returning Veterans in need of mental health care receive treatment.   Families and loved one of military veterans can benefit from a new online video where a combat veteran and clinical psychologist Kristen Vescera, clinical psychologist and renowned PTSD expert Dr. Josef Rusek, and Ashlynn Steinbaugh, daughter of a combat veteran whose family worked tirelessly to help her father get essential mental health care, share their experiences and discuss the issues surrounding Veterans and mental health and ways to navigate getting a Veteran the mental health care they need.

The panel discussion, produced by Palo Alto University, dedicated to psychology and counseling is available free online at:

Topics discussed include:

  • Obstacles to seeking mental health care 
  • How to approach a reluctant Veteran who needs care
  • What to expect from treatment
  • How families and friends can support Veterans during the treatment process
  • Identifying resources for families and Veterans

The panelists:

Josef Ruzek, PhD, is a clinical psychologist specializing in treatment of post-traumatic stress problems. He is a founding director of the Early Intervention Clinic, a research clinic of Palo Alto University which provides counseling services to individuals who have experienced a recent traumatic event. He served as Director of the Dissemination and Training Division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD and is coeditor of two editions of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma, and a contributing author for the National Center for PTSD’s Iraq War Clinician Guide. He is also a co-editor of Caring for Veterans with Deployment-Related Stress Disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond, published by the American Psychological Association. 

Kristen Vescera, PhD, is an Operation Enduring Freedom Combat Veteran and spent 10 years enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve. She received her PhD in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University in 2021 where she studied resilience factors for Service Member and Veteran mental health. She earned her master’s degree in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, concentrating on public mental health communication and education and holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of Colorado Denver. She is currently working at the VA's Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention in Canandaigua, NY as a Health Systems Specialist focusing on developing, disseminating, and evaluating national training and education programs aimed at preventing and reducing Veteran suicide.

Ashlynn Steinbaugh, BS, is the daughter of a retired Army Special Forces medic with 13 combat tours. Ashlynn grew up in a military community where she was connected to other children and families that had one or both parents in the military. She is an active participant of nonprofit organizations for Veterans in California and Oregon where she volunteers her time working at Veteran events. She is currently a second year in the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program at Palo Alto University, where she is studying neuropsychology.


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