YOUNTVILLE, Calif. (AP) - Tucked away in Northern California wine country, a small mental health organization has found success working with struggling U.S. service members, reducing suicide rates with unconventional treatment methods that include backrubs and cookouts.
Soldiers in the specialized counseling program in Napa Valley receive traditional therapy to treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems linked to combat stress. But at The Pathway Home, services expand to social gatherings, photography classes and even swimming with dolphins.
Officials say about 380 veterans have gone through the program in the past five years, and only one has committed suicide. The results have drawn the attention of an Army detachment that has stationed itself at the center for training through September.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that an average of 22 veterans kill themselves every day.