Mental Health Awareness Month: Real Stories from Real Veterans 2

Front of Mental Health Center at the Palo Alto Division.
Mental Health Center at the Palo Alto Division.

One of the most common ways of raising awareness for Mental Health is to hear from someone who has dealt with the same challenges. This story is the second part of a series of anonymous letters from Veterans who want to help others by sharing their story.

From a fellow Veteran:

This is the place that recovery starts. 520 gives your mind a place to rest without the racing thoughts and pressures that the world puts upon us. The skills they pass on to us are things that we can apply each day. The hardest part is for us to open our minds. The easiest part is accepting what we already know. The best way I pass time is by getting involved in the daily groups. “Don’t hold back your smile.” I really enjoy the patio times, but there is also arts and crafts, movies, books, and magazines. We played chess, dominos, and puzzles. My helpful tip would be to “not just be here, but be a part of something here.” It won’t work, if you don’t put in work to get better.

From a fellow Veteran:

Hi, how are you? Things are well here. I hear you are thinking about going to 520 Palo Alto. I believe that would be a way great idea. Let me tell you a little about it. Of course detox isn’t fun. It isn’t for anyone. But the staff does everything within its power to make you feel comfortable. Just remember to mention all of your ailments during the intake along with any pain, because by nighttime it will be too late. You will have to wait until you see your team the next day. Speaking of team, the staff is absolutely awesome. I have never seen a staff that cares about people as much as they do here. The nurses are the best, and the social workers know what you need before you even ask. They have a recreational therapist that takes you to the pool once a week. They have Wii, movies and cable to pass the time. Some of us even played chess and spades to pass the time. Passing the time is the hardest. But everyone there is in it together, so being around other Vets in that situation helps a lot. In these moments when you just need to get your head out of the hospital, they have free long distance. I talked to people I hadn’t talked to in 15 years. I started the healing process on a lot of relationships. The only negative I can think of is the food and the mattresses. They aren’t the best, but overall the good outweighs the bad. I encourage you to go.


-A Recently Treated Veteran

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