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Healing Warriors Program offers alternative therapies for veterans
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A Fort Collins based program offers non-narcotic therapy for veterans who are battling PTSD, pain, and troubled sleep.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Nearly a third of Vietnam veterans have experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD in their lifetimes. The percentage of veterans from other wars who have also suffered from PTSD ranges from 11 to 20 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

“Our veteran community is challenged by so many different factors. We’re seeing a lot of grief. In fact, the recent Afghanistan issues have really resulted in our Vietnam veterans being triggered: the return of nightmares, the flashbacks. So we see any veterans from any age group,” said  Ana Yelen, the co-founder of Healing Warriors Program in Fort Collins. 

Most often, PTSD treatment involves various types of psychotherapies or medication, but the Healing Warriors Program focuses on other options for treatment.  

“So there really was a gap in care for our service members, we did not have the non-narcotic options. You know, in 2009 we knew that there were already issues with the opioids resulting in additional deaths from suicide. So there really wasn’t anything out there that was available to support our service members,” said Yelen. 

Colorado Voices

Alternative ways of healing offered to veterans

The other type of treatments the Healing Warriors Program offers include acupuncture, craniosacral therapy and Healing Touch therapy to alleviate pain, help restore sleep and improve overall health, which can save someone’s life. 

“My former boss ended up taking his life,” said Yelen. “He was an Army captain. Then in subsequent years I ended up hiring a lot of veterans and I saw a lot of the same issues that had resulted in him finding suicide to be his ultimate option.”

So in July of 2013, after years of volunteer work to help veterans and their families, Yelen helped open this program. On top of the treatments, the organization also runs a client care navigation office which helps with case management and resourcing.  

“This helps me not just with the pain, I’m able to walk a lot better and a lot easier than I have in many years because of the sessions here,” said Robin Midlam, a U.S. Army Veteran. “It helps me calm down, it helps calm my mind, my brain shuts off for a little bit, it’s just really been so helpful.”

In the last eight and a half years in operation, Healing Warriors says it has delivered over 25,000 sessions through its clinic. All of the services are free to veterans and their families, which many are referred through other veteran programs.  

“I was a mess when I first came here. I was referred by the Fort Collins Vet. Center," said Sharon Owens, a U.S. Army veteran. “That’s all I can tell my fellow veterans is don’t suffer. Reach out. There’s help out there. Just sometimes you have to go look for it.”

Yelen encourages any veteran who needs help to pick up the phone and give them a call. The number for Healing Warriors Program is 970-776-VETS (8387) and they are located at 1044 West Drake Road, Suite 202 in Fort Collins.

You can find that information and more about their services on the Healing Warriors Program website.

Other resources for Veterans: 

Julio Sandoval is a multimedia journalist with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach him at

Amanda Horvath is a multimedia producer with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at

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