May 25, 2017
Mia Morrison is a team lead and therapist with the Centerstone Addictions and Outpatient teams in Adult and Family Services in Bloomington, Indiana and she has a special passion on the side — working with veterans. When Thelma Chandler, Director of Centerstone Indiana Military Services, reached out and asked Mia to join her as a contract therapist with the Wounded Warrior Project's Project Odyssey veteran retreats, Mia was excited.
“Being a spouse of an OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom] veteran, this opened my eyes to the direct impact PTSD and other invisible wounds from war can have on our service members, veterans and family members,” said Mia.
Much like Centerstone Military Services, the Wounded Warrior Project aims to serve veterans, military service members and their families who have incurred physical or mental injury or illness. As part of the Wounded Warrior Project, Project Odyssey is a rehabilitative service which helps veterans and service members overcome mental health related issues through an outdoor retreat.
The Project Odyssey retreats comprise 8 – 15 warriors in a multi-day, adventure-based retreat that provides new tools to help with combat stress, PTSD, and other invisible wounds of war. Project Odyssey is designed to challenge warriors physically, mentally and emotionally all while teaching practical life and coping skills.
“I work hand-in-hand with Wounded Warrior Project staff providing skill-based exercises to enhance understanding (resiliency, coping skills, etc.) as it relates to improving mental and emotional health,” said Mia. She also provides assistance with facilitating daily debriefings and is responsible for any clinical needs that arise throughout the retreat.
Mia has been at five retreats in the past six months working with warriors from all over the U.S. She reports the most rewarding part of the retreats is watching the journey and development of the warriors.
“They begin to identify their areas of needs and what they want to work on,” said Mia. Mia helps link them to services and can get the family connected as well.
Thelma has been at four retreats and reports that seeing the mental health needs of the warriors firsthand continues to inspire and motivate her to lead the effort in Indiana for our military families.
“I’ve seen real people suffering with mental health needs,” said Thelma. “This puts it in my face that there is such a big need for the services we provide at Centerstone.”
Thelma shared that, in Indiana, we are fortunate to have many licensed professionals who have been trained to provide culturally competent services to this population.
Regarding Mia, Thelma said, “I could see her passion.” Thelma felt Mia could relate with people at every retreat — male, female and couples. “She is out there doing a great job!”
Mia states that she truly enjoys this work.
“My heart and admiration for those who serve our country, combat or no combat, have my utmost respect and honor. Being witness to the horrific experiences and intense struggles that many of the men and woman I have worked with face is something that fuels my passion for advocacy, support and access to treatment.”