Ken Collins has lived with his brain injury for over 42 years and has worked with people with brain injuries to live independently since 1983: He is an advocate of developing home and community-based services for people with brain injuries. In 1986-88 he was a VISTA Volunteer and helped develop the first independent living program for people with brain injuries in the U.S.
Ken has participated in indigenous healing practices in the treatment of brain injury (Sweat Lodge and Hogan Ceremonies) and promotes the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping, Tai Chi, Yoga for successful integration with western medicine to control anger and other consequences stress and anxiety triggers within the limbic system fight or flight response. Ken has conducted in person training and webinars on using mindfulness-based therapies, meditation, exercise and nutrition to assist in the brain injury recovery process. He speaks regularly to people with substance abuse issues about brain injury, brain health, and strategies to improve emotional health.
Ken also organized Elders First! to develop elder day services (adult day care) for frail Navajo elders at senior centers on the Navajo Nation. These efforts were supported by two small grants to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Disability for Elders First! to fund focus groups and develop an Elders First! DVD to help educate chapter officials about elder day services at senior centers http://youtu.be/Coth5eeZSu0 The DVD was distributed to key legislative leaders in the Navajo Nation, Navajo Area Agency on Aging (NAAA), Eastern Agency of the NAAA.
Ken developed and managed the Next Step, Program where he provided employment and career opportunities to individuals who graduated from the Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services, Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Treatment Center in Gallup, New Mexico until he left the position to care for his ailing Mother in Reno, Nevada.
I’m a founding member in 2008 of the Hozho Center for Personal Enhancement. Hozho Center is a private non-profit tax exempt 501 (c) (3) organization organized first as a drop in center and warm line for individuals with mental illness who are homeless. The Hozho Center has grown into a community-based wellness center offering Native American Traditional Counseling, Peer Support and Mentoring Services by Certified Peer Support Workers (CPSW), Acupuncture Detox, Brain Injury Peer Support Groups, Sweat Lodges, AA and NA Meetings, Motherhood and Fatherhood Support Groups, and One-on-One Counseling. I’ve been chair of the Hozho Center since 2012 and transitioned into Executive Director.
Hozho Center is funded annually through New Mexico Behavioral Health Office of Peer Recovery.