Posted by Carol Roos, DCoE Public Affairs on September 24, 2015

Laura Davis has seen many happy endings in her time helping service members and veterans as an inTransition coach, but for her, a recent case stands out because she was able to get someone back on his feet and ensure he remained connected to valuable mental health resources.

The recent case started when a provider referred a veteran to the inTransition program for continued care with his posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). InTransition is designed to pair coaches with service members to maintain their mental health care treatment during changes in status. inTransition coaches are trained to help move service members and veterans between health care systems or providers every step of the way. Coaches bring military culture awareness and experience. Davis is an example; she understands the situations veterans face. Her father served in the military, was deployed to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, and displayed symptoms of PTSD.

From the referral, Davis called the veteran to find that he had no job, no place to live and was considering a divorce. “He was planning on leaving the entire situation,” she said. “He was going through the motions of depression, but was not suicidal. He felt desperate, vulnerable and worthless.”

In their first conversation, Davis helped calm him down and tried to help him understand he was not alone in feeling the way he did. She learned more about his story so that she could provide the adequate resources. Davis learned that after the veteran left the service, he and his wife decided to go on road trips to visit friends, but soon ran out of money and found themselves homeless. They began living out of their car.

Through frequent phone sessions, Davis helped to work out the issues the veteran faced. They talked about his options and steps he could take to continue moving forward.

Finding the couple shelter when they had no income was key to getting the veteran back on his feet, Davis said. “He was experiencing environmental and emotional impact from living with his wife in his car for a month, in addition to his PTSD,” she said.

Davis helped the veteran file an application for a home that is made available to veterans who suffer emotional and physical scars from war. “He didn’t know he qualified for housing. This is a common problem that service members have as they leave the military, not knowing what they qualify for,” Davis said. She explained to him that PTSD is considered a combat-related injury.

He followed through, remained patiently waiting in his living situation five to six weeks and was able to get a home. The veteran continues with his PTSD treatment, remains hopeful about his marriage and plans to look into seeing a marriage counselor in the future.

“This particular case was special to me because of the overwhelming excitement that the veteran was feeling when he called to tell me about being able to receive the keys to his new home; he was in almost disbelief. I love being a coach and being a witness to these life-changing moments. To me it is a testament to the power of resilience and hope,” said Davis.

inTransition is a free, voluntary telephonic coaching program that provides psychological health care support to service members, veterans and their health care providers during times of transition. Service members can call any time to enroll in the program from anywhere in the world. From the U.S. call 800-424-7877, outside the U.S. toll-free/DSN 800-424-4685, or outside the U.S. collect 314-387-4700.