BOCA RATON, Fla. — A Boca Raton non-profit is helping veterans and active members of the military connect around the globe.
“The same with the active duty and veterans. There is such a stigma about seeking out mental health care and that was what is was for me,” said Capt. Brian Thornsberry
Thornsberry served five years in the Army as a medical officer. However, he faced his biggest battle at home.
“Right after I got out of the Army, I was misusing prescription drugs and then when those weren’t available I started using heroin and alcohol to self medicate for my PTSD diagnosis,” he recalled.
Winning that battle would take help from a community.
“During that time of recovery I was able to find ‘Connected Warriors’ and kind of make that mind, body, connection,” Thornsberry said.
Thornsberry is now the director of operations for "Connected Warriors," a Boca Raton non-profit that helps active service members and veterans connect and destress using yoga. He said the program is now in 21 states and eight countries.
“When I first retired from the Navy I was kind of lost,” said Commander Ken Bingham.
Commander Bingham, a former Navy Fighter Pilot, said practicing yoga alongside people with similar experiences helped him feel less alone. Now, at 72-years-old, he’s also teaching classes.
“You have that one hour of peace and that’s what I really enjoy about it,” he said.
Captain Thornsberry said next month they are opening a mental health clinic.
“It’s going to be an office space with about 12 different offices. All of our clinicians are going to be veterans themselves,” said Thornsberry.
He said veterans can wait up to 90 days just for an initial mental health assessment. He’s hoping this new clinic will save lives.
“It’s needed as a safe space,” he said. “That is the service we are trying to provide here, it’s an all in one-stop shop.”
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