The State of Michigan boasts the greatest number of Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States with over 20 of the highly successful courts spread across the State.
Source: How a high-risk combat veteran is overcoming suicide attempts via special court, COX
By Malachi Barrett
on July 28, 2016 at 8:00 AM, updated July 28, 2016 at 12:38 PM
MUSKEGON, MI — When Dana Harvey talks about his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, his warm tone becomes heavy and listless.
His voice drops deeper and sometimes trails off toward the end of a sentence. There is more weight to his words; each is carefully chosen and seems to sit next to him in the room.
Harvey joined the U.S. Navy at 19 because he wanted to do something that would let him hold his head up high. After he got out, the disabled veteran’s experiences in war led to the lowest point of his life.
“I had become real depressed and was drinking a lot and kept having nightmares, like war dreams and night shakes,” he said. “I had a little bit of survivor’s guilt, they tell me. I guess that’s true. I ended up attempting suicide. Actually I attempted it a few times. Six times.”
The Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center taught Harvey techniques to deal with his depression, but he didn’t stop medicating with alcohol. For the majority of his adult life, he drank to sleep, to stop thinking and cope with trauma.
In the summer of 2014, it caught up with him. Harvey blacked out and became unresponsive while taking care of his daughter Gwendalynn. He was charged with fourth degree child abuse, a misdemeanor charge that could mean up to one year in jail.
Instead, Harvey was given a second chance.
He was selected for Muskegon County’s Veterans Treatment court, a specialty court that focuses exclusively on high-risk, high-need combat veterans from any branch of the Armed Forces. Participants must complete a five-phase, 18-month program designed to enforce sobriety, recovery and stability instead of focusing on punishment. Read More