This month on In the Wings mental health will be at the forefront of our stories.
With Veteran’s Day approaching this weekend, I met with an organization that is improving the mental health of veterans in Milwaukee.
Combat Veterans founded Dryhootch in 2007. The program was developed to help soldiers transition from military service or combat life to civilian life back home.
(Read more below)
Photo by Dryhootch
Dryhootch provides peer support for veterans who come home and are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression or substance abuse. Vets are paired up with a peer-mentor who has undergone similar circumstances but found their way back to healthier living situations.
Michael Crawford discovered Dryhootch through his own journey of PTSD and substance abuse. He received mentorship through a former soldier and began his own road to recovery. After years of stability and sobriety, Michael became a peer-mentor himself.
At Dryhootch, peer support means sharing experiences with another vet who has struggled with some of the same issues. Peer support allows for easier vulnerability, as people will open up to someone they find to be relatable. It functions in the way a therapy session might, without the clinical jargon from a doctor.
Not only will recovering veterans be able to trust their mentors more easily, mentors who have risen above these difficulties can provide guidance for those currently going through it and can accurately empathize with their mentees.
Dryhootch coordinates events that veterans can participate in such as frisbee-golf tournaments. They also put together gatherings at their office to watch football games, eat pizza or have chess tournaments. The organization also helps veterans find housing and jobs, and serves as a resource for veterans who may need connections beyond Dryhootch.
Dan, a newcomer at Dryhootch, is receiving assistance through a peer mentor at the National Avenue location. When a near-death overdose and revival hit him one morning, Dan decided to turn decades of pain and addiction into sobriety. Dryhootch saved his life.