Collaborative Nonprofit Assists Colorado Veterans
A community collaborative involving UCHealth, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, and Colorado Springs NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), with funding from the Colorado Behavioral Health Administration (BHA), is assisting Colorado veterans in their transition from military service and the many challenges that can present. The collaborative is called Next Chapter. The BHA was charged by state legislation to establish a veteran suicide prevention pilot program to reduce the suicide rate and suicidal ideation among veterans. Next Chapter is one result of that initiative. It provides no-cost, stigma-free, confidential, and effective behavioral health treatment for veterans with a focus on El Paso County, home of Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center. This program is intended to serve up to 700 veterans and their family members each year. Next Chapter states: “Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center provides transition and employment assistance, behavioral health and wellness, supportive services, connection to community resources, and safe event space for veterans, military members and their families.” A report by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office revealed that while suicides went down countywide, numbers went up among the military population. Of the county’s 176 deaths by suicide in 2021, 53 were identified as active duty and military veterans, a 10 percent increase from 2020. This indicated Colorado was outpacing the national average for veteran and military suicides. Among the services Next Chapter offers, with little or no out-of-pocket cost, are behavioral health and substance use counseling, relationship counseling, military family services, veterans peer support and companionship assistance for seniors, life transition and employment assistance, financial counseling, and crisis support services. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, see https://nextchapterco.org/ or call 1-(888) 719-VETS or email Rodger Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.