Editor’s Note: Sam Peterson is a good friend of SOFREP.  He is a fellow veteran on a mission to help alleviate the suffering caused by service-connected mental health conditions.  To that end, he operates Mind Spa Denver, a veteran physician-led team of mental health professionals dedicated to employing a variety of therapies to help our community achieve wellness. 

Hey everyone. My name is Sam Peterson. I’m a former Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team leader and combat veteran turned mental health professional. I’m here to shed light on an issue that is as explosive and yet neglected as the bombs I dealt with in Afghanistan: the mental health of our combat veterans and what the hell we can do about it. Veterans’ mental health is a pressing issue, yet it’s often mismanaged and under-resourced. We’ve walked the razor’s edge between life and death, an experience that leaves indelible marks on the psyche. Yet, when we return from the battlefield, we’re met with inadequate mental health resources. Simply put, the current state of veteran mental health care sucks.

Veterans are more likely to experience conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, than our civilian counterparts. These conditions can have life-altering consequences. The rate of suicide among veterans is significantly higher than in the civilian population. Despite the alarming statistics, many veterans struggle to access appropriate mental health care. The most common treatments include medication and talk therapy, often with long waiting times and inconsistent results. While these treatments alone can be effective for a small portion of our population, the simple fact is that often they don’t work.