New Program Supports Service Members, Veterans and First Responders with PTSD, Mental Health Needs


Baton Rouge, La. – Baton Rouge General Medical Center on Wednesday held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly launched Welcome Home Wellness Program which is designed to help those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mood disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, anger management and loss of a loved one. Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs Rodney Alexander and Former Baton Rouge Chief of Police Jeff LeDuff were among the speakers at the event which was attended by local and state community leaders and government representatives.

“Members of the military, veterans and other first responders experience tremendous emotional and psychological stresses in their daily lives,” said Medical Director Dr. Navin Patel. “With this new program, our goal is to help address the unique behavioral health needs of service members, veterans who have returned to civilian life, and other first responders, including police, EMS and firefighters.”

Experiences with combat, disaster and other traumatic events can significantly impact overall health, relationships, sleep, employment and in some cases, may even lead to life-threatening effects. According to a report released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, alarming increases in suicide rates among young veterans have been seen in recent years – nearly 44% for male veterans between the ages of 18-29 from 2009 to 2011, and more than 11% for female veterans during the same period. The numbers underscore the importance of recognizing the signs and seeking treatment for the invisible wounds that can leave a lasting emotional impact.

“As a community hospital, Baton Rouge General expresses heartfelt gratitude to our service members, veterans and first responders for their sacrifices. Through this new program, we are honored to support the well-being of the men and women who give the utmost to serve our country and strengthen our communities,” said President and CEO Mark F. Slyter.

Based at the Behavioral Wellness Center at Mid City, the Welcome Home program is part of Baton Rouge General’s comprehensive behavioral wellness program which includes both inpatient and outpatient services. The new program focuses on a group therapy approach and is led by two board certified psychiatrists, an advanced nurse practitioner, two licensed clinical social workers, a licensed professional counselor and registered nurses.

Learn more at or call (225) 387-7652.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is a full-service community hospital, with 527 licensed beds between two campuses. As the first hospital in Baton Rouge, opening its doors in 1900, Baton Rouge General has a long history of groundbreaking milestones, as well as providing the Greater Baton Rouge community with high quality healthcare for generations. From our birth center to senior services, and state-of-the-art heart and cancer care, Baton Rouge General provides care for the whole family at every age and every stage of life.

Baton Rouge General is affiliated with and also serves as a satellite campus of Tulane University School of Medicine. In addition to serving as a satellite campus for Tulane medical students in the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Discovery) Academy program, Baton Rouge General also offers a Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Sports Medicine Fellowship Program, School of Nursing and School of Radiologic Technology. Baton Rouge General, an accredited teaching hospital since 1991, is committed to exceptional medical education and serves a diverse population that is representative of the types of patients, injuries, illnesses and healthcare needs most frequently seen by physicians in private practice. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.