Author: Christina Harner, MS, Courage to Call Program Manager
Mental Health Systems Courage to Call Program is addressing the environmental factors as well as bringing light to underlying mental health concerns that individuals and families often do not mention. In May 2019, a female Veteran came to Courage to Call as a last resort.
A veteran came to Courage to Call as a last resort. She had been struggling for the last 25 months juggling her bills and trying to get by on her own. Her husband had abandoned her and was nowhere to be found. She was flooded with emotions, anxious and depressed. She was 2 months behind rent and was served eviction papers. She felt hopeless that anyone could help, but she still reached out. Courage to Call connected her with Supportive Services for Veteran Families and they were able to give her $6,800 to pay her back rent and the current month’s rent. They also paid for her to move into a more affordable apartment. This veteran is now able to focus on getting a higher paying job and moving forward in getting a divorce. She is no longer stressed about her living situation and is amazed that she could ever be able to get this kind of help.
• Providing free food distributions twice a month in partnership with Feeding San Diego and several other community partners including libraries, Southwestern Community College, Support The Enlisted Project (STEP), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The distribution provided healthy fruits and vegetables to approximately 4,800 military/veterans and their families which would not be possible without the help of roughly 280 community volunteers that have donated over 900 hours of their time to support ongoing food distributions.
• Organizing QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Gatekeeper training for approximately 70 military service providers in collaboration with the San Diego Military Family Collaborative. The training resulted in 4 additional suicide prevention trainings held at a school, church group, and a military spouse group.
• Participating in the planning, implementation, and support for the 31st Annual Stand Down event that served approximately 800 homeless veterans. The weekend long event provides essential resources and access to basic needs, housing, clothing, legal services, medical services, dental services, VA benefits, mental health support, and substance abuse prevention services resulting in hundreds of homeless veterans getting off the streets, finding housing, and getting back on their feet towards a healthier life.
• Improving the life skills and mental wellness for incarcerated veterans at the County Vista Jail vet module by facilitating 14 parenting classes and serving 131 veterans this year.