This podcast from Military Times examines the alarming rate of military and veterans suicide, offering new insights based on research and effective clinical and peer support practices in suicide prevention. Hosted by Duane France, a retired Army combat veteran, author and mental health counselor, and Shauna Springer, a psychologist, author and nationally recognized expert on initiatives to benefit the military community, the podcast aims to move beyond awareness to identify actionable strategies that can impact the rising suicide rate among service members, veterans, and their families.

About Today’s Guest:

Howard Somers, M.D., and Jean Somers, are the parents of California Army National Guard Sgt. Daniel Somers. Daniel took his life in June, 2013, after suffering for nearly a decade with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Gulf War Syndrome subsequent to serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Daniel’s condition was exacerbated by his experiences with the Phoenix VA Mental Health Department. He left an eloquent and heart breaking suicide note.

Since Daniel’s death, Jean and Howard have dedicated themselves to improving the care that the VA provides to our Veterans, especially in the area of Mental Health. They have developed initiatives to improve the transition process and increase general awareness among our service members “support network.” The idea for Operation Engage America is based on their own experiences with locating resources to help themselves and Daniel through the military-to-civilian transition experience and realizing that many other veterans and their families had similar problems. Howard and Jean have met with leaders in the VA, Executive Branch, Congress and the Department of Defense, and have testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Howard was born and raised in NYC, and practiced urology in Phoenix for 28 years. Jean who is from Canton, Ohio, is a paralegal and worked in the financial side of healthcare for 30 years. She was Howard’s practice manager for the last 12 years of their careers. They currently reside in the San Diego area.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Operation Engage America

Howard and Jean on Twitter

Howard and Jean's testimony before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs

Join our Facebook Group:

Seeking the Military Suicide Solution on Facebook

Shauna's latest book: Beyond the Military: A Leader's Handbook for Warrior Reintegration

Duane's latest book: Military in the Rear View Mirror: Mental Health and Wellness in Post-Military Life

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