Removing barriers to recovery for veterans and first responders

Posted On May 22, 2024

Military veterans are typically tough, can-do people. So it’s difficult for them to admit when they need help.

Many of them do, however. One study found that half of the 64,000 veterans living in the Mobile, Alabama, area reported having some sort of addiction or mental health problem. But not only do they have trouble asking for help, they often find barriers to actually getting it.

John Kilpatrick is dedicated to helping them overcome those barriers. Kilpatrick, our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” is a the founder and CEO of Vets Recover, an organization that helps veterans, first responders and their families. He’s a military veteran with a background in healthcare operations and social work who has gone through recovery himself, and he’s found that it takes a veteran to relate to the problems veterans face.

“They look at me on the other side and they see there’s immediate hope,” Kilpatrick said. “When you can combine a veteran who has experienced trauma and who has found recovery with world-class doctors and mental health providers, and they approach the veteran with addiction or mental health issues together, it’s magic.”

But getting veterans who are ready to receive care can be a challenge. Kilpatrick said most calls they receive are from the family members of veterans, asking for help for their loved one. If they can’t convince the veteran to come, Vets Recover can help the family members with coping skills. Often, that ultimately results in the veteran seeking the help he needs.

Another challenge is removing barriers to care. Homeless veterans who can’t make VA appointments, for example, can fall through the cracks. Vets Recover finds solutions to these problems – many of which Kilpatrick says are simple fixes.

“I’m a root-cause analysis guy,” he said. “I just like to talk to them and try to figure out: How did you get here? Ninety-nine out of 100, it was a 50-cent problem.

“We can’t make them take the help, but we want to make sure we’ve removed all the barriers that we can.”

Vets Recover can be reached at 251-405-3677.

Categories: Blog, What's Working with Cam Marston