Jul 19, 2010 7:21 PM by Matt Stafford

Fighting a growing problem

Two of the most prominent ailments among our soldiers returning from war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries, are some of the toughest to treat.

3,500 4th B.C.T. soldiers made their way back to Fort Carson in May -- of those soldiers, studies say up to a fifth of them could be coming back with symptoms of stress related disorders.

"This problem with P.T.S.D. and T.B.I. is broad, and it impacts many people in many different ways," says Brian Duncan, a local care provider with the Warrior Support Center.

Now with 3,800 1st B.C.T. soldiers packing up to leave just last week -- and two wars continuing -- brain injuries are a problem that will likely continue growing.

"We need a net to catch all of these people," Duncan says. He's one of several care providers in Colorado Springs working on P.T.S.D. and T.B.I. cases.

Duncan brought his experience to share with others in the same boat, trying to solve a growing problem.

Federal grant money is pushing the groups learn about the problem together, so they can fight it together. Money from the grant set up Monday's seminar at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

Organizers had a simple plan; just get players in the same room to get the conversations started.

"They start talking and realize that they have similar missions or are serving similar populations," says Carrie Bailey, program manager for the Veteran Trauma Court in the 4th Judicial District in Colorado Springs.

The SAMHSA grant money, distributed through the state Department of Human Services, was awarded in 2008 to help with jail diversion and trauma recovery -- primarily for veterans. The five-year, two million dollar grant primarily funds the Veteran Trauma Court, but it also helps with community outreach. Monday's seminar is an example of using the grant money to get community members on the same page.

For most in the room on Monday, the more they work on the problem, the more they realize that teamwork may the only way they'll make a big dent.

"We're going to have to pull together to make this happen," Bailey says. "There is not one organization or agency that is going to be able to combat this by themselves, we're going to have to come together."

Just like the military doesn't go into battle without a plan, this community is saying we need a plan too.

Organizers say the grant won't be enough to solve the problems we've seen from P.T.S.D. and T.B.I., but it will hopefully get things going in the right direction.



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