Springs health group to testify about PTSD in Washington

Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group leaders will travel to the nation’s capital tomorrow to participate in a roundtable discussion aimed at finding treatment solutions to the invisible wounds of war: post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group plans to share new data on the effectiveness of its Peer Navigator Program, which has garnered the interest of the White House as well as Department of Defense officials in recent months.

As its name implies, the program provides peers to help soldiers and their families with the overwhelming challenges of reintegration, and to navigate the complex systems of care available to them.

Military veterans who suffer from PTSD or TBI and do not seek help will cost the community about $60,000 a year. Peer navigators can help them find mental health and substance abuse services, as well as employment training – that help reduces the cost to about $11,000 a year for each veteran.

The data and research are based on before-and-after surveys of a group of 106 people who have gone through the Peer Navigator Program.

“We know we have something that works,” said Chief Operating Officer Paul Sexton, who will testify during the roundtable. “We also know that there’s too much volume coming at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. We need community agencies like us to pull alongside and do some of the heavy lifting.”

The Department of Labor recently awarded Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group more than $350,000 for the next three years to help incarcerated soldiers find jobs. The money will pay for two peer navigators. The Oklahoma-based Inasmuch Foundation, which has ties to Colorado, also recently awarded the program $10,000 to work with veterans.