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New sober house for veterans in southern Minnesotan wants to treat the real issue: PTSD

Organizers behind a brand new veterans sober house in southern Minnesota say they’re beginning a brand new mannequin for veterans sobriety that — they hope — may flip right into a nationwide mannequin.

The Bravo Zulu House, positioned on a farmstead outdoors Winnebago about 28 miles south of Mankato, broke floor final week. Organizers intention to assist veterans keep sober by addressing the root causes of their points: their post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD).

“There are zero all-military sober houses in the U.S. that can help a veteran coming out of treatment and then eventually deal with their real problem, which is PTSD,” mentioned Tim Murray of Trinity Sober Homes, the faith-based sober house community that runs Bravo Zulu House.

Murray credit his personal sobriety to Col. Martin Fleming, who ran a sober housing program in St. Paul for a long time earlier than his dying in 2018. Murray started exploring an all-veterans residence throughout COVID after listening to about the want for extra sober homes for veterans.

There are greater than 16.2 million veterans residing in the U.S. About 330,000 live in Minnesota, in accordance to U.S. Census Bureau information. National information tendencies counsel a couple of in 10 veterans undergo from PTSD.

A current survey from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration discovered greater than 1 million veterans in the U.S. are coping with substance abuse and PTSD.

Veterans Affairs applications often revolve round therapy facilities, however supply few assets for residential, peer-to-peer applications in accordance to Mike McLaughlin, head of Blue Earth County Veterans Services. McLaughlin has labored with state and nationwide teams on veteran points and mentioned the lack of step-down applications like sober homes for veterans is a rising concern throughout the U.S.

Such properties usually are dealt with by non-public teams and out there to everybody, which might be a problem for veterans, lots of whom can really feel like they will not be understood by their civilian friends or counselors.

“They tend to gravitate toward other veterans for help,” McLaughlin mentioned.

There are sober housing applications for veterans, however advocates say they do not supply the identical kind of restoration course of Bravo Zulu House is proposing.

As Murray and different veterans put it, sobriety is vital for veterans affected by dependancy, however it’s not sufficient if veterans are coping with PTSD.

“These guys go to treatment and when they’re done they didn’t have any places to go,” mentioned Jack Zimmerman, a veteran advocate who has labored with veteran therapy courts in the Mankato space. Zimmerman is a sponsor behind the Bravo Zulu House as a result of he hopes different sober housing teams will take up PTSD therapy in the future.

The Bravo Zulu House is anticipated to tackle 13 males as soon as it is accomplished in the fall. The males will work with an on-site licensed drug and alcohol counselor in addition to attend PTSD counseling from therapists by way of telehealth. Rent is $600 per thirty days for non-public rooms and the males are anticipated to work part-time jobs for 20 to 30 hours every week as a part of their keep.

They’ll additionally develop some meals of their very own with hydroponic farming and be accountable for caring for their very own canine — what Murray calls “sneaky therapy.”

“There’s lots of data that says PTSD therapy is enhanced and improved if you give somebody the responsibility of taking care of another living animal,” Murray mentioned.

There’s no time restrict to the program. Murray mentioned Trinity Sober Home residents usually keep a median of 18 months earlier than they depart, however they’re free to depart once they’re prepared.

Murray and Trinity Sober Homes are elevating $600,000 towards renovating and including onto the Winnebago farmstead they’ve bought. With luck and cooperative climate, staff plan to begin the addition work in lower than two weeks and wrap the undertaking up by November. Murray is also negotiating with space medical suppliers to safe well being care for the residents. Murray has plans to construct a veterans sober residence for ladies.

If the program works, Trinity Sober Homes may increase veterans sober housing choices all through the state.

“Our guys deserve the absolute best, so why wouldn’t you hold yourself to the best possible standard?” Murray mentioned.

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