A new partnership aims to provide members of the Indiana National Guard with mental health and substance abuse care. Indiana National Guard behavioral health officer Maj. Scott Edwards says the program called “Mission Recovery,” tailored to service member’s needs.
“So when service members come they are meeting with a provider who understands more about the realities of being a military member,” Edwards says. “That’s hugely important for us and it’s key to the success in any kind of initiative where people come to get help for mental health or substance abuse problems.”
The collaboration – two years in the making – is between Community Health Network, Fairbanks Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center and the Indiana National Guard. It started when a member pointed out gaps in treatment, says Fairbanks Chief Clinical Officer Robin Parsons.
“The full continuum of care is what you’re telling us people with substance use disorders need however our soldiers are not getting provided that,” Parson says.
There are about 14,000 National Army and Air Guard members in the state. Edwards says suicide is a significant problem
“So when we’re trying to tackle difficult problems like suicide we have to look at substance abuse and we have to figure out how can we do better,” Edwards says.
Fairbanks has trained providers to better address service members by including things like trauma care. The recovery center will also provide $120,000 a year in care for the new program.
Treatment can only be accessed at the Indianapolis location right now but leaders hope to expand locations.