On Wednesday, Sept. 11, two men graduated the Johnson County Veterans Treatment Court program, after successfully completing comprehensive mental health and/or substance abuse treatment, a series of court appearances, drug and alcohol testing, recovery support meetings and working closely with mentors who are also veterans.
One of the two graduates, Dwayne Gipson, former U.S. Marine, says the program and his mentor were instrumental in restoring his well-being.
“They make sure we are taken care of,” Gipson said. “I told my wife and other people, I accomplished more in the last 18 months than I probably did in the last 18 years. This program was definitely what I needed to get my act together, so it worked for me. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I really appreciate what they’re doing for veterans.”
The mission of the Veterans Treatment Court is to identify veterans in the criminal justice system and, when eligible, get them into treatment and court supervision as an alternative to incarceration. Veterans voluntarily participate in the 12 to 18-month program.
During Wednesday’s graduation ceremony, it was noted that there are approximately 400 Veterans Treatment Court programs across the country.
The other graduate of the program noted during his presentation at the event, “Fortunately, not all veterans need this program, but those that do, thank you for this program.”
Gipson encourages other veterans who are struggling to get help by reaching out to their local Veterans Administration or other services, such as Johnson County Mental Health, that provide support. Mental health emergency services are available by calling 913-268-0156, or the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (or text to 838255).