This article was created in partnership with Land Rover
Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for their country, but sometimes their toughest battle is a return to civilian life. Many veterinarians struggle with physical and mental health issues such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction and depression. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 16 veterans die by suicide in the United States every day.
Fortunately, there are thousands of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping veterans heal and prevent this unfortunate outcome. Mike Sarraille, a retired Navy SEAL and host of the Men's Journal Everyday Warrior podcast, says these nonprofits are needed now more than ever, especially after the longest war in American history.
"When you go beyond the war in Afghanistan, which lasted almost 20 years and involved nearly 775,000 soldiers who served at least one deployment there, you see the emotional impact on those individuals," he says. “It doesn’t mean these people are broken. What they are experiencing are normal reactions to the unusual conditions of war.”
Sarraille explains that different veterans may need different types of support and treatment. "Natural psychedelic treatment might be helpful for one, equine therapy might work for another," he says. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution."
But many nonprofits that care for veterans face a challenge: donor fatigue. As war fades from the public eye, so do the funds for these organizations. Sarraille likens it to funding a startup: “It's a lack of capital. To be honest, I think you'll see that in the years to come. The situation could get worse.”
So how can you help? One option is to donate money to one or more charities that align with your values and interests. Sarraille suggests using Charitynavigator.com to research organizations and check their ratings and financial transparency. You can also donate your time and skills by volunteering or offering your expertise to a nonprofit organization that could use your help.
If you're looking for inspiration, here are the organizations Sarraille has personally volunteered with, donated to, and recommends:
US combat veterans deserve the best possible care for their traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and other mental health issues, but many of them are not getting it from the conventional treatments available in the US. That's why Marcus Capone, a former Navy SEAL, and his wife Amber founded VETS, which connects veterans to life-changing psychedelic-assisted therapies. The Southlake, Texas-based organization also supports research into how psychedelics can end veterans' suicide crises.
Big Fish Foundation
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this organization believes veterans have the power to shape their own history and heal their own wounds. Founded by Major Brian Chontosh, USMC (Ret.), a hero of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nonprofit empowers veterans to take responsibility for their mental health through education, training and advocacy. The Big Fish Foundation organizes and sponsors events that help veterans reconnect with their service values, connect with their classmates, and learn how to succeed in civilian life.
The HunterSeven Foundation was established by veterans and healthcare providers who have experienced or observed the harmful effects of toxic exposure. The HunterSeven Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to highlighting the health consequences many veterans are facing after 9/11. Based in Providence, Rhode Island, the organization conducts and disseminates research worldwide to educate and guide clinical practice for healthcare providers and veterans. In addition, it supports veterans and families who have been harmed by military operations as part of an emergency aid program.
heroes and horses
Heroes and Horses is a nonprofit organization that uses horse therapy to heal combat veterans with physical and mental scars. The organization operates a unique program that combines wilderness adventure with horsemanship in the Gallatin Valley, MT. H&H also raises awareness of the challenges and opportunities that veterans face after their service.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a Tampa, Florida-based organization founded in 1980 after a tragic attempted rescue of American hostages in Iran. It recognizes the victims of fallen and wounded Special Forces personnel by supporting their families with full scholarships. It also provides immediate financial assistance to special forces who are badly wounded, ill or injured.
2023 Defender Service Awards
If you know of a great veteran charity that needs more recognition, nominate them for the Veteran and Civil Servant Outreach Award at this year's Defender Service Awards. The initiative shines a well-deserved spotlight on those who embody compassion, bravery, and an unwavering dedication to doing good.
minations are now open until July 21, 2023. Anyone can recommend a nonprofit organization by entering the organization's name and email address in the Defender Service Awards online submission form. The nonprofit then receives information about how to participate by submitting a video of up to three minutes that showcases their service work and explains how a Defender 130 vehicle would help support their cause. (Read more about this year's Defender Service Awards here.)
A top-class jury will carefully evaluate the entries. Beginning in September, the finalists' videos will then be made available for public voting on Landroverusa.com and Landrover.ca.