Ep 15: The Power of Connection & Breaking Down Barriers in Veteran Mental Health Care with Jonathan Bittner

On Episode 15 of Untold Valor, military veteran and therapist Jonathan Bittner returns to the show to give us further insight into the ways CompeerCORPS can help veterans. He’ll detail why the help veterans need often goes well beyond substance abuse and into more nuanced challenges in the mental health arena, like battling loneliness and isolation.

Jonathan explores the reasons why a lot of veterans are afraid to seek help and provides action steps to take if you’re desiring a different path, but don’t know what to do.

Listen to the episode to learn how CompeerCORPS had to shift strategies during COVID and discover some of the unique challenges that exist in the mental health care arena because of the military’s distinct culture.

Highlights of this episode:

4:27 – The military has its own culture and that presents unique challenges in the mental health care arena.

5:27 – Action steps you can take if you’re feeling lonely.

6:40 – COVID really impacted the program and they had to find a new way forward.

10:36 – A lot of veterans fear that if they open up and are honest, they’ll face negative consequences.

More About Jonathan:

After getting out of the army in 2013, Jonathan began helping Veterans in various capacities.  He served in leadership positions locally and at the state level with the PA Veterans of Foreign Wars including serving as the District Commander for Montgomery County.  Jonathan volunteered for Operation Ward 57 as the backup to their Crisis Hotline. In 2018, he joined the Voice and Vision, Inc. Board of Directors representing veterans and their needs.

He later became the Director of CompeerCORPS at Voice and Vision where he outreached to Veterans, led support groups, and developed CompeerCORPS Veteran to Veteran friendship matches. Jonathan is a therapist who specializes in trauma and works with Veterans, First Responders, and their families. He is one of the founders of Chestnut Hill Therapy Collective. Jonathan has a Master’s in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and is a Combat Veteran from the war in Afghanistan, which help him to serve Veterans with skill and understanding. He is also working on his Doctorate of Psychology to become a Clinical Psychologist so he can be of further assistance to Veterans.

Jonathan sits on a Community Advisory Board through the University of Pennsylvania’s, Perelman School of Medicine, where their goal is to bring together researchers, clinicians, and persons with lived experience to improve the care of civilians, Veterans, and active-duty Service Members with PTSD, suicide risk, traumatic brain injury, or some combination of the three.

Resources:

Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1   Chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat   or Chat by Text 838255

Voice & Vision: https://bit.ly/3miwFoy

CompeerCORPS: https://bit.ly/3GgKryU

Information on how to apply for VA Healthcare Benefits from anywhere in the USA: https://bit.ly/40PtrrN or call 877-222-8387 (M-F 8am-8pm EST)

To apply for veteran’s benefits and find resources in Pennsylvania veterans need to contact their County Office of Veterans Affairs as listed in this document: https://bit.ly/3m8PBWS

View more about PA’s resources for veterans: https://bit.ly/416cf0Q

Financial support for Untold Valor is provided by a Veterans’ Trust Fund grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

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