STEPS was established in 2017 to expand services and increase accessibility in order to fill a gap in mental health care for military service members and family members, at-risk youth, and others with mental health needs by providing access to a unique form of continuity of care through equine assisted therapies and activities.
The need for professional mental health counseling to cope with post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns experienced by Military Service Members and Veterans (and their families) and At-Risk Youth has been widely documented and publicized.
What has not been publicized is that many clients find it difficult to engage in traditional office-based therapy. These clients may therefore avoid or struggle to progress in office-based approaches. Tragically, too many in these populations go untreated - often the ones with the greatest need for treatment.
There is a need in the marketplace for a mental healthcare program that can address the unique mental health needs of the Military Service Member and Veteran and At-Risk Youth populations. A program that, under one roof, provides both professional mental health counseling as well as post-counseling support activities can be critical to maintaining gains accomplished in counseling.
S.T.E.P.S. With Horses (STEPS) accomplishes this goal by using a form of professional counseling that Military Service Members and Veterans and At-Risk Youth populations respond positively to (and look forward to attending) called Equine Assisted Counseling and by using a model of mental health delivery designed by co-founder, Dr. Hallie Sheade called the Spectrum of Therapeutic Equine-Partnered Services (STEPS) Model.
1. What is the STEPS Model?
The term "STEPS" stands for Spectrum of Therapeutic Equine-Partnered Services (STEPS Model).
The STEPS Model is a novel, cutting-edge approach to provide multiple levels of care targeted at treating mental health concerns through equine assisted mental health services. STEPS features a unique continuity of care to provide both clinical services (such as Equine Assisted Counseling and Psychotherapy) and non-clinical services (Therapeutic Horsemanship).
The STEPS Model supports clients by improving quality of life and minimizing regression, but also benefits the local community by avoiding the much costlier need for in-patient and/or residential care that is often the result of failure to get needed care.
Essentially, STEPS provides an alternative approach to mental health counseling, especially for those who avoid traditional office-based therapy or are not satisfied with the results. By partnering with Horses for Mental Health STEPS is committed to brining awareness to the benefits of equine assisted therapies for Veterans, at-risk youth, and those in need of mental health services.
We are in need of funding to expand access to equine assisted counseling and post-counseling support services. There is an average of 50 people at a given time on a waiting list for equine assisted counseling services, most of whom need financial assistance to access services.
Your donation will go directly to clients as financial assistance and give us the ability to expand our services and help more Veterans, at-risk youth, and those with mental health needs!
To donate, simply click the green button "Donate" above"! Thank you for making a difference!
To improve the mental health and well-being of military service members and family members, at-risk youth, and others with mental health needs through equine assisted mental health services including counseling and psychotherapy, therapeutic activities, education, and community engagement.
At the moment, our most pressing needs are funding for partial and full scholarships for counseling services for clients who have financial need, as well as funding to support the care of our therapy herd. Your donation will go directly towards providing crucial services to those who may not be able to access them otherwise, and helping us ensure that our therapy horses (and Donkey!) are happy and healthy.
STEPS With Horses is committed to fostering an environment of inclusiveness free of prejudice or bias to sustain a safe and healing space for all. We believe in creating a nurturing climate that understands and respects the spectrum of human diversity including religion, age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or nationality. All persons associated with STEPS are expected to embrace this philosophy and demonstrate such vision. STEPS takes this mission seriously by creating and incorporating culturally responsive, equitable, and inclusive services into all aspects of our organization, including a commitment to education and diversity trainings, which all STEPS staff and volunteers participate in. STEPS Co-Founder, Dr. Hallie Sheade, also serves on PATH Intl.'s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee as part of a global initiative to increase access to culturally responsive equine assisted services for marginalized groups.