Participant Stories: John

When John was first approached about participating in a program called MISSION-VET he wasn’t sure if it was the right program for him. His case manager asked about his concerns, and described how MISSION-VET was designed to help people in his position who struggle with addiction as well as other mental health issues. John learned that he would also have the opportunity to work with a peer support specialist, another veteran who had gone through similar times, and after a few weeks of discussion, he decided to give it a shot.

As part of his HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) case management, John’s case manager had completed a thorough assessment of his family background, his health, and any legal problems, in addition to the history of his substance use and ongoing struggle with depression. His case manager then developed a treatment plan for services and reviewed it with John to make sure he was on board. These goals included finding a job, going back to school, attending AA meetings, and seeing a trauma specialist to help with his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These goals were then connected to the MISSION-VET program, which helped the case manger realize that John would be a great candidate for the program.

The next step was for the MISSION-VET case manager and peer to visit with John. The peer support specialist gave him the MISSION-VET Consumer Workbook. John was initially worried due to his strong aversion to homework, but he was relieved to hear that his peer was going to work through the exercises with him and that they would be proceeding at his pace.

John was in touch with his MISSION-VET case manager and his peer support specialist at least once a week, typically meeting at his new apartment or by telephone. John found that he was able to move through the workbook fairly quickly. As promised, his peer helped him with some of the exercises, which he then brought with him to his Dual Recovery Therapy sessions with his case manager. Often, John and his peer targeted exercises that they felt would be the most helpful to John's recovery. John especially appreciated how well the peer and case manager worked as a team. Additionally, John's peer held group sessions about topics such as gratitude, humility and patience. John also had the opportunity to talk about these topics one-on-one, when his peer would accompany him to an AA meeting or when they went to the benefits office to get information about the GI Bill.