This past summer, the life of a gifted U.S. Navy veteran hit rock bottom.
Brian’s substance use and mental health struggles were at their worst. Through a series of difficult events, he found himself homeless, struggling to cope, and in a place of desperation. He considered taking his own life. Fortunately, a caring friend, also a veteran, urged Brian to seek help at our Christine Loeber Primary Care Clinic at the New England Center and Home for Veterans (NECHV) on Court Street in Boston. The clinic is named in honor of a beloved friend and former colleague who had a true passion for working with Veterans experiencing challenges.
Today, after only a few months of care, Brian is receiving critical support from our devoted clinical staff and is working hard to get his life back on track.
Brian, like so many of our patients, would never have imagined himself experiencing homelessness and feeling hopeless in his late 20s. A few years after graduating from high school, Brian had enthusiastically enlisted in the U.S. Naval Seabees, the Naval Reserve Construction Battalion. At that time, he was newly married and eager to have a purpose. Unfortunately, after only a few years, his marriage became troubled, and it ended in divorce.
Brian struggled with depression and began a cycle of drinking and taking pills when he was home, yet was able to stay abstinent of substances while deployed as a Naval heavy equipment operator. As his personal life became more challenging, Brian’s addiction and other mental health issues worsened. Six years later, Brian found himself homeless, living behind a gas station, with only a backpack and a few possessions, and contemplating a way out of his misery.
Because of the dedicated support of people like you, Brian had somewhere to turn when he needed it most.
Prior to coming to our NEHCV clinic, Brian was skeptical of services designed for the general population, by staff, who may not understand or address the unique medical and behavioral health care needs of former military service members. Brian tells us that as soon as he entered our NECHV clinic, he felt welcomed by our compassionate and highly skilled nurse Kristin, and he knew he had made the right decision. Kristin describes Brian as “a determined, self-directed young man with a kind soul,” and encouraged him to open up about his issues. For the first time in his life, Brian talked about his struggles with substance use and mental illness. Kristin connected Brian with a number of our clinic services including behavioral health care, as well as other services offered by NECHV.
In just a few months, Brian’s life has changed dramatically. He receives comprehensive behavioral health services, has entered into recovery, and started Medication Assisted Therapy, curbing his cravings for substances. Recovery has allowed him to make other positive changes in his life, enrolling as a full-time student at a community college, and working towards his dream of starting a nonprofit organization training military service dogs.
Looking ahead, Brian now focuses on the future, to a day when he can go back to work and move into his own apartment. He is regaining his confidence and sense of purpose. Kristin is so glad Brian made that decision to come into our clinic: “I’ve been so fortunate to work alongside Brian and watch him grow on his path of recovery and healing. It has been very exciting to watch him apply himself to school, talk about his education goals and his plans and hope for his future.”
Brian thanks our staff for helping him get healthy and set a new direction in his life. He describes our NEHCV clinic staff this way: “Whether it’s Kristin or any of the other providers here, they all come with the intent of helping whoever walks through the door. And even though they see so many vets on a daily basis, they remember everyone’s story. I’m not just a number.”
It’s thanks to your generosity that Kristin and the rest of our staff at NEHCV can give veterans like Brian the time, attention, and care they deserve, to get well and rebuild their lives.
We hope that you will consider making a gift to BHCHP- your generosity makes all the difference.