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Eagle Valley Behavioral Health

Joey Johnson: A Journey of Recovery and Advocacy

In his early 20s, Joey Johnson decided to seek help for his behavioral health issues. His journey to recovery would require persistence, flexibility, family support, and financial resources.

Joey faced a years-long battle with the stigma associated with addiction, the lack of resources in his home state of Colorado, and insufficient backing from insurance providers.

He feels he has been fortunate — with his family there to act as his “quarterback,” Joey found a sense of purpose and a successful recovery. His father, Jim Johnson, is the president and CEO of GE Johnson, a construction company that focuses on giving back to the community through the GE Johnson Foundation. Their gift to Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health (EVBH) case management program was inspired by Joey’s challenges in finding high-quality treatment and support.

Accessing Support, Addressing Stigma

Joey’s path to healing was long and difficult, taking him and his family through several facilities across California, Texas, and Utah. It was beneficial for Joey to remove himself from the environment that had been a destructive influence on his recovery. By doing so, he could direct his energy towards personal progress and healing. When he eventually returned home, he was in a strong position to set up his support system.

Joey knows that the resources he was able to access are not always readily available to everyone due to many factors, including financial hardship and the stigma surrounding mental health.

“Many parents struggle to recognize the signs of substance abuse in their children and are often afraid of the stigma attached to it,” he explains. “I believe there is a major flaw in how society handles mental illness, and that advocacy and education are crucial in changing people’s perceptions of addiction and mental illness as a disease.”

Helping Others After Recovery

Today, six and a half years sober, Joey owns a home in the Vail Valley and works at Home Aide Health Care. Joey’s story is a testament to the fact that it is possible to recover from addiction with the right resources.

“With a lot of support, help, and resources, he’s living a very productive and independent life. It can be done, but people need to get to the point of saying, ‘It’s okay; I need some help.’ And that’s a tough place,” says Jim.

“It’s a process of self-care — you need to practice it to ensure you’re okay. If I can do that, anything is possible.”Joey Johnson

Join our efforts to improve behavioral health care in our valley by supporting the It Takes A Valley: Transforming Behavioral Health campaign.

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