Over the course of his career, Chris Miller has held positions including Marine Corps Towgunner, sushi chef, mental health worker, full-stack developer, and community outreach coordinator. Chris shares his journey from overcoming untreated PTSD after Service to helping Veterans and their families get mental health treatment at The Road Home Program at Rush University.
“I’ve seen what happens when military mental health is neglected, and I’ve personally suffered those consequences,” Chris said. “I have also seen what recovery looks like and what it takes to start that journey.”
Chris’s journey to providing mental health services started after facing untreated PTSD symptoms himself.
“After I got out of the military, I didn’t have flashbacks, so I didn’t recognize my PTSD symptoms,” Chris said. “I moved back to my hometown to figure out my next career move, and my family saw something was wrong. Salute, Inc. also helped me out, and I knew I wanted to give back someday.”
At home, Chris started working in inpatient mental health care at a children’s psychiatric hospital and went to culinary school as well. When he and his family moved a few years ago, he was looking to get out of the culinary world. So, he started working for The Road Home Program in 2013.
In his community outreach coordinator position, Chris connected Veterans suffering from PTSD to The Road Home program and visited Veterans’ organizations–including Code Platoon–to raise awareness.
Chris gave a brief about The Road Home Program to our students and sat in on the class. From this experience, he found coding interesting and saw the possibilities to help Veterans with technology. He decided to leave The Road Home in pursuit of this vision.
“First, I worked with some Veterans I knew on a tech startup company,” Chris said. “We created a mobile app that connected Chicago-area Veterans with hiring companies, support groups, and mental health services. Even though that venture fizzled out, I wanted to learn more coding, so I applied to Code Platoon.”
At Code Platoon, Chris attended the 14-week (now 15-week) Immersive Full-stack Software Engineering Bootcamp, Hotel Platoon. After graduating from Code Platoon and completing a six-month full-stack development internship, Chris applied for an IT position at Rush University. He connected with his former boss and learned his old position at The Road Home Program had reopened.
Chris decided to take his new tech skills from Code Platoon back to the program:
“Learning full-stack web development at Code Platoon definitely helped improve my position at The Road Home Program,“ Chris said. “The psychiatry departments are not very tech savvy. Since the Covid-19 pandemic had started, we had to learn how to leverage technology to continue providing services during lockdown.”
“I keep up our website, maintain virtual systems for tracking research participant data, and help create a database for outbound referrals. I like putting these small systems together.”
When asked about future goals, Chris replied:
“I’m enjoying my work at The Road Home Program. It’s great to be growing a clinic, and I want to continue to be a part of it. If I can use my experiences to help lead other Veterans down the road to recovery, I will accomplish my mission.”
If you want to help support the The Road Home Program or learn more about their available services, visit The Road Home Program website.
Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she uses her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed from previous positions in higher education and educational technology. Kayla has degrees in English and Sociology from Clemson University and completed the Study in India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.