Though John Troxell — former Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman (SEAC) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — retired in 2020, he’s still just as busy. His new mission is to advocate for veterans’ services like the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program.
The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP) is an evidence-based program that serves America’s post-9/11 veterans and service members by offering services nationwide, both in-person and virtually, in participating states. The program heals invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, substance abuse, anxiety and depression. The EHVP is one of four academic medical centers (AMCs) in the Warrior Care Network — a partnership between Wounded Warrior Project® and the four world-renowned AMCs whose mission is to provide care for post-9/11 veterans and service members struggling with invisible wounds.
There are two treatment paths in the EHVP: an intensive outpatient program (IOP) and traditional outpatient treatment. The IOP is a two-week program that reduces symptoms, promotes health and well-being, and improves relationships and social functioning. Participants receive as much therapy in two weeks as they would typically get in a year, and they learn about yoga, medications, sleep and wellness, healthy coping skills, and communication techniques, especially with regard to partners, family and friends. Treatment is customized for each individual, based on their unique circumstances and goals. The EHVP also offers a traditional outpatient program for those who are not able to take two weeks off to participate in the IOP.
“Emory Healthcare is doing incredible things,” Troxell said. “What they’re doing to support those that suffer from PTSD, substance abuse, or any of the other invisible wounds is creating an immeasurable impact. I’m just honored, privileged and proud to be a part of that team.”
Emory Healthcare Veterans Program’s IOP and outpatient program are available to all eligible veterans, regardless of discharge status, deployment history, location, or length of service, and includes travel, meals, lodging and all treatment and activity costs. It’s a comprehensive approach to ensuring anyone who raised their hand to defend our great country receives the support they need.
Troxell wants veterans to seek help the moment they realize they’re struggling. “The sun is going to come up tomorrow morning and you’ve got to get up with it. You’ve got to pull yourself up and go utilize the resources you’ve earned because of your military service to your nation,” he explained. “Your country owes it to you to help you take care of yourself. We all have a responsibility to take care of our veterans and their families.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that between 11-20% of post-9/11 veterans report struggling with PTSD. This number is likely much higher since many warriors do not report their symptoms. Nationally, 6% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD during their lifetime.
One of the traits Troxell sees in veterans with whom he’s served is a lack of purpose once they hang up their uniforms. He has personally witnessed declines in mental wellness. “I’ve seen them transition [to civilian life] and flounder because they’ve lost the mission mindset they had when they were in,” he added. After experiencing this himself and witnessing colleagues go through the same struggles, he dug into finding solutions.
“I’ve learned how to continue to get after purpose, motivation, and direction and how to enjoy life every day. In uniform during my latter years, my number one priority was to get people excited about coming to work. I wanted them to come in because they knew they were going to have a good time, they knew we were going to be focused on this band of excellence to accomplish tasks,” he explained. “They knew I wanted them to know that they were part of something bigger than themselves. To be part of something where people will go out and do great things or continue to set high goals, who will continue to dream big and then go out and do great things with their life. But more importantly, will do for the community, other veterans and our nation.”
Though he found a way to happiness, Troxell himself struggled with symptoms as he approached retirement from the Army. It was his wife who encouraged him to seek support for the ever present “anger” he was feeling most of the time. He credits therapy for radically transforming his own life.
“I was hesitant to start treatment because of a perceived stigma I had, but I was encouraged by my wife to start four years ago,” he explained. “Through my military provider initially and now through my VA provider, my treatment taught me coping skills that have allowed me to lessen my hyper-vigilance, deal with being easily startled, and through breathing techniques allowed me to be less angry and emotional, especially in crowded public places. I am a better person, husband, father, and grandfather because of my ongoing treatment.”
Troxell’s time in service instilled the value of selflessness; but in this instance, he wants veterans to look at caring for themselves as a way to be even more mission-ready for whatever life throws at them. He added that it just takes one step and one day at a time because wellness is possible—especially with organizations like the EHVP standing ready to support.
“I don’t want to be remembered for my titles or the senior enlisted guy in the DOD,” he said. “I hope my legacy is that I was a good teammate in the way I served both in and out of my uniform.”
As Troxell continues successfully navigating life post-service, he hopes other veterans will take the vital step in seeking treatment for their needs.
Though many of America’s veterans will experience PTSD each year, healing is possible with successful evidence-based treatment with organizations like Emory Healthcare and its veterans program.
If you are a post-9/11 veteran or service member struggling with invisible wounds, fill out this private form to speak with a veteran care coordinator and learn more about how Emory Healthcare Veterans Program can help.
This article was originally published on We Are The Mighty
About Emory Healthcare Veterans Program
Emory Healthcare Veterans Program treats conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury, (TBI), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), anxiety, and depression related to military service. Treatment is free and confidential for eligible post-9/11 veterans and service members living anywhere in the United States, regardless of discharge status, deployment history, or length of service. EHVP’s two-week Intensive Outpatient Program as well as its traditional outpatient therapy is offered in-person at our clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, or via telehealth in participating states.