Local program helps veterans get their lives back on track

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - A veteran suffering from PTSD or any mental illness, sometimes self medicates with drugs and alcohol but this behavior can land them in jail. Now, a local program called New Horizons is offering them help.

Like so many others, Kimberly Perkins' father has served in the military, sacrificing his life for our freedom.  Following in his footsteps, she joined the military and now she is devoting her life to helping veterans.

"Usually mental illness will show up in your late teens, early twenties. [This] is usually the time people join the military," said Perkins

If a soldier develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or suffers from a mental illness it can often lead to alcoholism, drug abuse, and incarceration. New Horizons' helps them by providing services for substance abuse, mental illness, and getting their life on track.

"Recently a lot of our soldiers here, especially in this area are using spice, alcohol, and cocaine," said Perkins.

She says veterans are eligible for the program if they have a non-violent charge.

Previously the service was only offered as a measure to prevent incarceration. Now, they have a program at the Muscogee County Jail that will give veterans the help they need, while incarcerated.

"We'll have a staff there of six people. And those people will basically handle the mental health and substance abuse treatment of inmates; so groups, individuals, suicide assessments," Ms. Perkins said.

Perkins says the program has about a 75% success rate.

She says Fort Benning is helping tremendously, and now they are able to offer services to active duty soldiers as well.

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