According to the American Psychological Association, one third of military veterans who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan report symptoms of mental health, many of which turn to substance abuse.
“Right before I had got out I had gotten in trouble, and I had got a DUI,” said Lindsey Jones, Army Veteran.
Ammunition Specialist Lindsey Jones was part of the Operation Enduring Freedom tour in Afghanistan. She deployed twice, in 2011 and again in 2014.
“There’s really no outlet for you to kind of express yourself when you go through emotions, so that part was kind of difficult for me and I did end up developing severe anxiety while I was over there, something that I still work on,” said Jones.
That stress is what eventually led her to get out of the Army three years ago.
“I was debating on whether I wanted to stay in or get out and I just decided, you know with my anxiety and everything and I just wanted a more routine lifestyle, it was just too much get up and move around and this and that,” said Jones.
The DUI forced her to attend the Veterans Treatment Court Program, which she says saved her life.
“During that program I did seek treatment, I got a job, started school, I was able to do all that and then I became a mentor at the program,” said Jones.
The Veterans Treatment Court gives veterans with mental health issues, the chance to get their life back on track. It features intensive supervision and treatment to give veterans who have gotten in trouble with the law, the help they so desperately need.
“First it helps you cope with everything you have been dealing with, so they start with a treatment plan and then they slowly transition you into a positive mindset and transition you back into what it’s like being involved with other people,” said Jones.
After completing the year-long program, Lindsey is happy to say she is now on the other side, mentoring other veterans.
“It feels great, it’s so rewarding and you know I self reflect all the time and seeing how far I’ve come it’s just, it’s crazy,” said Jones.
She hopes to graduate from Central Texas College with not one degree, but two.
“When I originally started school I wanted to go for business management so I will be graduating that program in December, but I also joined an internship with Net Impact, a non profit organization and they really focus on helping the community, social, environmental and sustainable impact. I found a new passion, so I just started a new degree on chemical dependency specialization, so I’m trying to become a substance abuse counselor,” said Jones.
Giving her life, a 180 degree turn.
“There are some good people out there, so that’s what I hope to do is impact others and let them know there are people out there that want to help,” said Jones.