Mental Health Recovery: By the Numbers
April 19, 2018 | 3-minute read
As Mental Health Month approaches this May, we’re highlighting the life-changing possibilities of mental health treatment. Focusing on these positive experiences is a powerful way to encourage people to seek support. And the stories we share can help shape how people think about treatment and recovery.
Since 2011, the Make the Connection campaign has featured inspiring stories from hundreds of Veterans. Ryan, who served in the U.S. Army, and Linda, who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force, both returned to school and pursued their passions. Kionte, a Marine Veteran, discovered his path to recovery through physical activity and inspiring others. Vietnam Veterans like Rick have sought treatment and reconnected with their families as a result.
From reaching the highest summit in Antarctica to celebrating decades of marriage, the possibilities created through mental health treatment are reflected in these five numbers:
After deployment, Moses found himself craving the rush of combat. The abrupt transition to civilian life left him battling dangerous impulses. “I kind of became an adrenaline junkie,” he says. Moses sought treatment with a counselor, who helped him to slow down and process his combat experience. Today, he works as a student Veteran counselor, and he’s also mentored and coached Veteran volunteers. He has helped nearly 700 Veterans adjust to life back home.
“What I get a thrill out of now — the thing that I love the most,” Moses says, “is when a Veteran comes to me with no clue and no idea and leaves me with a plan.”
Mount Vinson is the highest point in Antarctica at 16,050 feet. When Kionte found himself in a hospital bed, his right leg amputated below the knee, he never thought that in just a few years he’d climb Mount Vinson and stand on its peak. Through counseling and physical training, he succeeded.
“I’m doing many things I probably would have never done if I wasn’t injured,” says Kionte. “For me, that’s therapy.”
33 years of marriage
After years of depression, Millye, a U.S. Army Veteran, found strength and understanding in VA transgender support groups. She and her husband have been married for 33 years. “I love him, and he loves me,” says Millye. “I’m gonna be with him. We took an oath, until death do us part.”
5 tours of duty
After 5 tours of duty in 10 years with the U.S. Marine Corps, Daniel had combat trauma and substance use issues that caused his life to spin out of control. Support from counselors and close friends helped him to turn things around. “They were pretty good rocks to lean against, when I was having trouble,” he says.
Rick experienced PTSD symptoms and substance use issues for years. Individual and group therapy allowed him to better manage his triggers, and to become a role model for his 13 grandchildren. (That’s nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and one more on the way!)
“I want them to be proud of their grandfather and show them that I am a warrior and that I can overcome,” says Rick. “You can overcome anything you want to if you put your mind to it.”
Editor’s note: All numbers are current as of filming date.