[Our] goal is not to medicate and mask the problems our veterans are facing but to heal them. Mission 22
This bold mission attracted me to Mission 22 when I first heard about the group.
More veterans die by suicide each year than …
More veterans die by suicide each year than the total of US military deaths in the entire Iraq war and Afghanistan war combined! This is scary. It's shocking. It's unacceptable.
Mission 22 started when a friend that co-founder Magnus Johnson served with took his own life. Magnus learned that 22 veterans a day were taking their lives and this shocked him into action. His friend and fellow former Green Beret Mike Kissel joined with him to found Mission 22. They started with a large-scale public art project in Nashville, Indiana as a way for veterans and citizens to work together to raise awareness of veteran suicides.
A National Monument
Then they asked themselves the question: If there is a national monument honoring those who died in almost every war fought for our country, why could not there be a monument to those veterans who have lost the fight after coming home by taking their own lives ?
That was born the moving large-scale monument shown in the photo above. Mission 22 says: “We honored 20 veterans who lost their lives here at home after serving our country abroad.”
Their mission has grown to include multiple ways for veterans, their families and communities to find help. Most dramatic to me are the cutting edge healing programs that are giving remarkable results. Before we look at the healing programs in more detail, let's take a look at the national problem.
Veteran and Civilian Suicides
Veterans end their own lives at a rate much higher than civilians. Among men, the risk for suicide in 2014 was 19% higher for Veterans compared with US civil adult men. And for women, the risk for suicide in 2014 was 250% higher among Veterans than US civil adult women!
The Veterans Administration is putting more resources into trying to prevent suicides, with an expanded lawsuit hotline and increased mental health counseling. Still millions of Veterans either do not visit a VA facility or are not kindly helped when they do. So the need for Mission 22 and caring groups like them.
The rate of Veteran suicides is greatest among the youngest Veterans ages 18 – 29. This is true for both male and female Veterans. However, the total number of Veteran suicides is still much larger among older Veterans, simply because there are so many more older than younger Veterans. So help is needed among all Veterans age groups.
Mission 22 Treatment Programs
Mission 22 currently has two treatment programs that focus on Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress. The goal is not to cure and mask the problems our veterans are facing but to heal them. Mission 22 website
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
According to Mission 22: “More than 350 Veterans have reclaimed their lives” by using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in conjuction with other modalities like nutrition and medical massage.
HBOT treatment enhances the body's own healing process. People inhale 100% oxygen in a total body chamber, where the oxygen level and atmospheric pressure can be controlled for safety. HBOT has been helpful as a post-concussion treatment for football players and other athletes. The similarity with brain injuries suffered by Veterans led to the Mission 22 program.
The FDA has approved HBOT for a variety of conditions, though not yet for traumatic brain injury. However, Mission 22 has seen such good results that the group covers the cost for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress or brain injury to go through the HBOT treatment program.
A clinical study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma in 2012 demonstrated significant benefits of HBOT for both physical and emotional issues in a group of 16 Veterans with brain injuries. * HBOT is known to help by decreasing inflammation and increasing blood flow to the brain, but there is still much more to learn about how it works.
Full Spectrum Health Center
The other cutting edge program Mission 22 uses involves bringing balance back to the body, emotions and mind. Working with the Full Spectrum Health Center in Chicago, Veterans can be treated at home where they live in the country. Based on evaluation and advanced blood testing, an individual treatment plan is developed for each Veteran to heal imbalances in their bodies and lives.
The goal of the Full Spectrum Health Center is powerful. The clinic states: “Full Spectrum Health Center for Endobiogenic Medicine (FSH) uses a new approach to heal soldiers and veterans from the inside out.”
“Our approach is to understand who you are and why you suffer with specific symptoms. based on balancing and optimizing the four keys to health: Body (hormones, nerves, brain, digestion), Mind (spirituality: a journey to inner wholeness), Diet (nutrition for your body's needs), Lifestyle (stress reduction, sleep, exercise ). ”
The Full Spectrum Health program includes plant-based therapies, pharmaceuticals if needed temporarily to help patients stabilize, self-integration work to gain more control of thoughts, feelings and actions, and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy.
Mission 22 was founded by Veterans to reduce the tragedy of Veteran suicides. They started with an emphasis on education and now coordinate their efforts with multiple groups around the country.
Mission 22 helps cover the cost for these two healing programs that help Veterans with post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury rebuild their lives, so they are accepting donors to fund Veterans who want to go through these two programs.
* Paul G. Harch, et al. A Phase I Study of Low-Pressure Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Blast-induced Post-Concussion Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Journal of Neurotrauma, January 1, 2012.