You Are Not Alone: Entrepreneurship, PTSD & Suicide

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Entrepreneurs and small business owners understand all too well the stressors that come along with starting and growing a business. Mental health takes a backseat to more immediate needs like running payroll, problem solving supply chain issues, and finding qualified employees. Combine the stress of running a business, PTSD and trauma many veterans experience, recent news about Afghanistan together, and life can become overwhelming quickly.

During Suicide Prevention Month and knowing overall suicide rate for veterans is 1.5 times as much as the rate of civilians and among post-Sept. 11 veterans between 18-years-old and 35-years-old, the rate is 2.5 times that of all civilians and double of civilians the same age, Bunker Labs wanted to provide resources for veteran entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Stress Management LIVE Q&A

On Tuesday, September 14th at 11 am ET Bunker Labs discussed stress management with Schmid Etienne during LIVE Office Hours. Schmid is Co-founder and CEO of R.E.S.S.E.T Studio, a research-backed stress management and mood-altering program that is designed to teach individuals how to effectively manage stress in under 10-minutes by simply using their senses. Schmid’s R.E.S.S.E.T process is currently being utilized by the master’s in health administration program at the University of Minnesota. Schmid is a Minority & Service-Disabled Veteran. 

After his deployment during Katrina relief, Schmid Etienne realized that he was having flash backs. Upon returning home, smells of certain types would give him some of the same negative and fearful feelings of being back in New Orleans. And at times these flashbacks, would feel so real it was like he was there all over again. This led him to question that if a smell could bring about such powerful memories at random, then what would happen if he was capable of controlling his flashbacks by creating specific cues such as a smell, taste, sight or word. Combining this vision with positive psychology, neuroscience and emotional intelligence, Schmid Etienne teamed up with co-founder, Lauren Ruckheim, to create R.E.S.S.E.T. 

Click to listen to full recording from Bunker Office Hours.

You Are Not Alone – Veterans Helping Veterans

The Invictus Project: Changing the Standard of Mental Healthcare

For former explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) specialist Jeff Haugland, relief from the constant physical pain of spinal injuries; frequent, crippling migraines; and trouble sleeping initially came in the form of a bottle of Jameson. 

When he opened up about the challenges he faced to his friend and fellow EOD veteran Sam Peterson, he found Sam had a similar story. Both men had close encounters with suicide, and they also lost a mentor to suicide. “We were sick of watching our brothers and sisters killing themselves,” Sam said, “We knew that no one else was going to solve this problem the way we could solve this problem.”

They had both seen first-hand how the current treatments were failing. “I had been treated by the traditional medical system; I had been given prescription after prescription, trying to balance out my neurochemistry, and they didn’t work. They made everything worse,” Sam said. 

Sam and Jeff turned themselves into human guinea pigs, looking for and testing out alternative therapies that could create long-term, positive mental health outcomes. 

The nonprofit they formed, Invictus Project, focuses on using diagnostics to assess the brain and body, followed by a standard treatment protocol of ketamine infusions, stem cell therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and intranasal diluted insulin. Once the immediate mental health crisis has been addressed, the protocol calls for psychotherapy and lifestyle modifications to facilitate long-term wellbeing. Learn more and read the whole article.

Sam and Jeff turned themselves into human guinea pigs, looking for and testing out alternative therapies that could create long-term, positive mental health outcomes. 

Medal of Honor Recipients Wage War on Veteran Suicides- Virtual, On-Demand Panel Discussion

The forum, moderated by Todd Connor, a U.S. Navy veteran and the founder of the veteran entrepreneurship non profit, Bunker Labs, featured the candid testimony of Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. Allen Lynch, who was awarded the Medal in 1970 for his heroic actions in the Vietnam War, and Capt. Florent Groberg, who was awarded the Medal for his valor in the War in Afghanistan in 2012.

The recipients shared their firsthand experiences struggling with mental health, discussed how suicide has impacted their lives, and highlighted the importance of breaking down stigmas when it comes to discussing suicide.

Read the full article here and watch the moderated panel discussion.

This powerful Forum features a multi-generational panel of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients sharing their insight, experience, and prospective on key factors surrounding active duty and veteran suicide.

Suicide Prevention, Suicide Coping & Mental Health Resources

This is not a comprehensive list, but the resources below are able to help.

Veteran Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 press 1 or Text 838255
Veterans in crisis, or those who may know a veteran in need of help, may contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. The line is a free, anonymous, confidential resource that is available to anyone, even those not registered with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or enrolled in VA health care.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline – The TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline consists of a network of trained professionals who are on call for you 24/7. Whether you are in emotional crisis, need to connect with TAPS resources and programs, or just want to remind yourself that you are a part of a loving, supportive family, call TAPS at 800-959-TAPS (8277), and know we’re here for you.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs – Suicide Prevention
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs – Coping & Support
Each Mind Matters – Each Mind Matters is California’s Mental Health Movement. The California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) is an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
Military OneSource – is a free service provided by the Department of Defense to service members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns, including possible mental health problems. Call and talk anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-342-9647.

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