Keys to success for our Nations Veterans

After working with justice-involved Veterans for the past 15 years, we have identified five key pillars that are essential for a real success story to happen.
 
Acceptance of Treatment
Healthy Family and Friends Network
Employment
Stable Housing Reliable Transportation
Community Acceptance
Purpose
Veterans, pro social,
Veteran Mental health, mental health, mental illness, veteran mental illness

Acceptance of Treatment

One night I spend several hours discussing military life one night with a Vietnam Veteran. That night he said something that I will never forget “it is easier to make a warrior out of a civilian than it is to make a civilian out of a warrior.” This statement resonated with me so profoundly that I spent much of the night in constant thought. This quote could not be more accurate. As a civilian, we have choices we can make daily that have an impact on the direction our lives go.
For the most part, we are not subject to constant traumas like those who prepare and deploy to war. As warriors, we are trained not to trust anyone around us unless they wear the same uniform as us. When we return home, the expectation is that we reintegrate back into society as if the things we experienced or saw in combat never happened. Not every warrior will return home the same way. Every brain is different, and the impacts of trauma do not manipulate each of the
warriors the same way. For most of our warriors, coming home and getting back into the swing of things is a walk in the park and easily obtainable. For a few of our servicemen and women, the trauma can take an extreme toll on the body and mind. For these warriors, proper treatment is crucial to the brain’s success over the trauma. We do not have a lack of treatments available; what we have is a lack of acceptance of treatment.
Once we have accepted that treatment is essential, beyond this, we have accepted the individualized treatment plan provided for us. Only now can we start to work on ourselves genuinely.

Healthy Family and Friends Network

We have all heard the saying; you are the product of your environment. You must understand that the people you have around you should only bring you up and should never encourage you to go against the words of a licensed professional. Mental illness and addiction are common among our veterans. Sometimes our veterans decide to self medicate to stabilize their mental illness. Self-medication leads our vets down the dark road of substance abuse. When we have people in our lives who are also using or abusing substances, it is only natural that we will find a way to copy that behavior.

Stable Employment

Proper employment is something that has a significant impact on the lives of our Veterans. We train in various skills and abilities that, on the surface, do not appear to reflect well in a civilized society. However, they are more closely relatable than one would think. Serving our country most sacrificially is not synonymous with entry-level in most cases. Our skillsets integrate with leadership, management, working under pressure, and attention to detail. Additionally, finding employment that allows us to take care of ourselves, families, etc. is more crucial than you could
imagine.

Stable Housing and Reliable Transportation

Stable housing and reliable transportation are things that are extremely difficult for a lot of our veterans dealing with mental illness and addiction to obtain. As our Veterans regain control over their lives through addressing their mental illness and addiction concerns achieving stable housing and a reliable means of transportation is the next step towards their success. There are a lot of programs that will assist our Veterans with obtaining stable housing like the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Volunteers of America, and the Department of the VA.

Community Acceptance

When one of our Veterans, who has completed an intensive program like the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC), needs to be better at accepted as an individual by their community. We do not fully understand individual and more so what the underlying impacts the individual Veteran with which they are dealing. Sometimes our Veterans are impacted by PTSD or TBI, and this has led them down a very dark spiral in their life. This dark spiral can lead to addiction, criminal activity, and even suicide. The VTC must ensure that these individuals get back into the treatment that they need and address these underlying issues that have made a lasting impact on them. We owe it to our Veterans to accept them once they have addressed these concerns and made a consorted effort to make a positive change in their own lives. All of the progress that our Veterans make is in vain if we do not accept that Veteran back into the community.

Purpose

Community acceptance is probably the most crucial key to success for our Veterans dealing with mental illness and recovery. We, as Veterans, are committed to serving our community and our Nation. Once our Veterans separate from the military, we are stripped of our purpose and are left without service. Our Nation’s Veterans must stay involved and find that purpose once again—volunteer with a local charity doing something that you love. Many nonprofits give our Veterans the ability to give back to the community in a very fulfilling way.