How Many Veterans are in South Alabama?

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The Community Foundation of South Alabama has recently completed its Southwest Alabama Veterans Needs Assessment and anticipates the results from the assessment will be released in early January 2017.

In the meantime, you can learn about the veteran data that is currently available. The dashboards provide demographic snapshots on our veteran community in Southwest Alabama to get an idea of why the need for Veterans Recovery Resources is so great. Continue reading

Veterans Recovery Resources Campus

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Veterans Recovery Resources purchased two buildings located on a three-acre parcel in the medical corridor on Springhill Avenue in Mobile, Alabama. These buildings will serve as the permanent campus for the non-profit’s unique recovery program for military Veterans and their families suffering from substance abuse, post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues.

Using a grant from The Community Foundation of South Alabama’s Veterans Initiative and other funding sources, the initial focus is on remodeling 1156 Springhill Avenue to provide intensive outpatient counseling and a range of therapeutic services for Veterans as soon as possible. 1200 Springhill Avenue will house the non-profit’s residential care program. As the campus is built, the properties will align under one address.

The vision of Veterans Recovery Resources is to create a vibrant community of healthy Veterans and their families who support each other over a lifetime, strengthening the local community and contributing to the city’s economic development. By purchasing these blighted buildings in need of complete repair, the organization is doing its part to contribute to the revitalization of the city. In addition, the acquisition will create new professional jobs and training opportunities for students across many health disciplines including psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, social work and more. Most importantly, Veterans Recovery Resources will fill the major gap in residential treatment programs for Veterans offered on the Gulf Coast.

Naming opportunities are available for donors wishing to make a positive and lasting impact on the city. Organizations interested in supporting Veterans Recovery Resources in this effort including providing in-kind support or services should contact the non-profit at info@vetsrecover.org.

Veterans Recovery Resources is working closely with all other Veteran resources in the area, including the new Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic that is under construction.  Our residential care program will serve as a strong complement to the Veterans Affairs outpatient services. The volume of Veterans is too great for any one organization to serve alone. By contributing to an eco-system of service providers and collaborating with all public and private Veteran organizations, we will bring innovation to solving problems and achieve our goal of creating a vibrant community of healthy Veterans who work together, contribute to the local market and support each other over a lifetime.

Veterans Recovery Resources Programs

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Veterans Recovery Resources is different. It is a community-based program designed specifically for Veterans, by Veterans. The goal? To provide therapy and treatment options for Veterans in crisis, regardless of their ability to pay for services. And ultimately, to foster a vibrant community of Veterans–and their families–who support each other over a lifetime.

Watch this short video to learn more about the role connection plays in overcoming addiction.

By removing the barriers to treatment for substance abuse disorders and mental health care, Veterans Recovery Resources will provide a compassionate and caring recovery program for Veterans and their families.

Mental health disorders are complex illnesses that affect the brain. Millions of people experience substance use disorders and other mental illnesses at the same time. These co-occurring illnesses complicate a person’s mental health, but comprehensive treatment can help people recover from addiction and cope with other mental health problems. Our dual-diagnosis program will treat the whole person, offering the highest quality, evidence-based approaches to treatment for those suffering from substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI).  Our programs will be delivered by culturally-competent professionals who understand the differences between the mental health issues experienced by military personnel compared to that of civilians.  The problems Veterans face are most often a result of the stressors of combat, moral injury, multiple deployments and separation from their families over time. Research shows that the rate of substance abuse, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, is much higher in service men and women.

We are also dedicated to supporting military families; the spouses, children and caregivers who also need help recovering from the impact of substance abuse or mental wellness issues. When military families can connect with other military families, it makes all the difference. 

Veterans Recovery Resources will offer three core services:  An in-patient residential program followed by a complementary after care program;  an intensive out-patient program for those who do not need residential care; and a continually growing fellowship program to keep Veterans healthy, productive and engaged in their recovery communities over the long-term.

Using an inter-disciplinary approach, we help accelerate Veteran well-being. The link between medical health and mental health is well documented. Our medical team helps to see that Veterans are not overprescribed conflicting medications and offers alternative methods for chronic pain management, including physical and occupational therapies. Our team of psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers and family counselors works with each individual to establish a personal plan of care, according to their values and goals. Veterans Recovery Resources offers a comprehensive continuum of care, combining physical and mental health that leads Veterans back to the productive lives they seek.

To learn more, contact us today.

How Veterans Recovery Started

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The idea for Veterans Recovery Resources came to John through time and experience. John is a combat Veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-91), Kosovo (2005-06) and Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (2015).

He has over 31 years reserve military service including 12 years as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and over 18 years as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. He also served an eighteen month tour at the Pentagon in the Office of the Surgeon General at Headquarters, Department of the Army (2009-2010).

While John’s specialty is hospital administration, he brings the credibility of being a Veteran himself. John has walked in the shoes of Veterans and those in recovery. He has seen the challenges facing Veterans in receiving the timely and quality care they need, as well as the community of fellowship that is so key to leading a successful civilian life in recovery.

John has a bold vision for how military Veterans can recover from the trauma and issues they face. That vision is Veterans Recovery Resources.

After the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 expanded the use of non-Veterans Affairs care for veterans located more than 40 miles from a Veterans Affairs facility, and for those for whom care is not available in a timely fashion, John decided to act. He launched the organization in 2015 and created a Board of Directors with Jim Ware and Mike Plattenburg. He started working with Todd Greer and Dr. Joe Currier. The Advisory Board grew. The momentum for Veterans Recovery Resources continues to grow because the need is so dire. John and his team are committed to making Veterans Recovery Resources a reality. The first stop? Their own local community in Mobile, Alabama.

Why Mobile, Alabama? There are roughly 60,000 Veterans in the southwest portion of the state. A recent needs assessment revealed that 1 in 2 Veterans in the area reported a previous mental health diagnosis (e.g. posttraumatic stress) and/or recent thoughts of suicide and problem drinking. Yet there is not one Veteran-specific residential substance abuse treatment program to serve them nearby.

Research suggests that some Veterans returning to civilian life have difficulty finding employment; are at increased risk to develop health and mental health injuries that can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, and sometimes suicide; and struggle to reconcile their experiences with a civilian society that does not understand or misunderstands these injuries, military service, and war. Veterans helping other Veterans makes sense, and working together to serve the communities in which they live is key.

It is not enough to thank our Veterans, though we all appreciate gratitude. We need to help our Veterans, for they carry the burden of service long after they leave the military. We need to help them in concrete ways specific to their unique mental health needs. Join forces with the Veterans Recovery Resources team today by making a donation. They have given so much for us. Together, let’s end their war.

Learn more about what John shared with the Rotary Club of Mobile and read this article posted by the University of Alabama School of Social Work.

The Time is Now

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Our country is facing a national epidemic and a local crisis.  Our military Veterans in the Mobile and Gulf Coast region need your help today.

Of the roughly 22 million Veterans in the U.S., one in four has serious addiction and mental health issues.  A staggering 22 Veterans commit suicide every day.* In the Gulf Coast region, there is an even greater gap to fill.  Did you know that there are over 5 million military Veterans* in this region, yet it has even fewer Veteran-specific mental healthcare services to support these national heroes? Continue reading