The Home Base Program, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, has received a $65 million donation from Wounded Warrior Project that will dramatically expand its capacity to treat veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.
The gift, the second largest in Mass. General’s history, will allow Home Base to move to a new building in Charlestown Navy Yard and provide clinical care and support to about 1,500 veterans annually, double the number it currently serves. Home Base will move into the new space in August and begin serving veterans there in September.
“It’s like ‘Field of Dreams’ — You build it, and they will come,” said Jack Hammond, the program’s executive director. “It will be one of the best spaces in the country for mental health and brain injury.”
Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that helps veterans and active duty service members, refers 60 to 70 percent of Home Base’s patients, Hammond said. In the past three years, Home Base has treated patients from 45 states, including many from Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, and Texas, he said.
“They’re not just a funder, they’re a partner in the whole program,” Hammond said.
Home Base chief operating officer Michael Allard said $3 million of the gift will help pay for a $10.3 million renovation of an office building in the Navy Yard. The remaining $62 million will be used to fund a “significant amount of care” the organization provides, Allard said, including new forms of treatment.
“This is transformative for Home Base, and the mission that we have, on an unprecedented level,” Allard said.
Home Base provides a variety of treatment options, including behavioral health care, family support, mindfulness training, and nutrition, for veterans and their families. The services, along with transporation, lodging, and meals, are provided free of charge.
The program currently offers an intensive treatment program that packs the equivalent of one year of therapy into a two-week period.
With the funding from Wounded Warrior Project, Home Base will pilot a program in the fall that brings veterans in for concentrated therapy sessions on a series of weekends rather than on weekdays. Hammond said those sessions will especially benefit young veterans who are working or attending college and can’t afford to take time off.
Seeking treatment on weekends would also allow some veterans an added measure of privacy, since they would be less likely to have to explain absences from work or school. For many veterans, mental health issues still carry a stigma, Hammond said.
“If the guy went in there and said, ‘I have a piece of shrapnel in my leg and need to get physical therapy for the next 12 weeks,’ they wouldn’t even think about it,” he said.
The money will also help Home Base pilot a new program this fall that assists veterans dealing with substance abuse.
MGH president Peter Slavin and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner founded Home Base in 2009, following a visit by Werner and the team to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007.
‘It will be one of the best spaces in the country for mental health and brain injury.’
The Globe is owned by John Henry, principal owner of the Red Sox.
Representatives from Wounded Warrior Project will present a ceremonial check to Slavin and Werner at Thursday’s Boston Red Sox game against the Los Angeles Angels.Thomas Oide can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @thomasoide.