TAMPA, Fla. — Leave no veteran behind. It's a mantra that Camellia Simmons has heard throughout her time in the Marines and as a civilian. 

What You Need To Know

  • Veterans Treatment Court began in 2013. 

  • Nearly 1,000 veterans have completed the program.

  • Veterans treatment court typically meets three or four times a month. 

That motto is one of the reasons Simmons works at Shield of Faith Missions to help combat suicide by veterans. 

"I want to help and I want to assist, because I've been through some things myself dealing with PTSD and mental health, and I know what it's like to be in low places and not have a support system," she said. 

Simmons said after her military service, she felt lost.

In 2016, she got her first DUI and got a second in 2021.

She said at her lowest she was invited to be part of the Hillsborough Veterans Treatment Court, a program helping veterans heal from substance abuse disorders, mental health conditions and other traumatic experiences from war.

"It's not an easy program," she said. "It's admitting that you need treatment. It's admitting that you have issues. It's admitting that you're not the best version of yourself." 

Senior Mentor D.J. Reyes said since the program began, nearly 1,000 veterans have completed the program.

"Many of our veterans are finding their own internal battles and those battlefields have reached our own shores," Reyes said. 

"This is about treatment," Simmons said. "It's not about innocence or guilt. It's about getting what you need to be successful, getting what you need to be healthy mentally, emotionally, physically, socially." 

Veterans Treatment Court typically meets three or four times a month and began in 2013.