To empower returning veterans by facilitating healthy reintegration into civilian life as well as treating and destigmatizing the signature wounds of war.
VETERANS STORYBOOK: 2013-2014
Our team of JM volunteers has been privileged and honored to hear some remarkable conversations while on tour from Veterans and their family members. Now we would like to capture and share some of these stories. It is our hope that getting personal anecdotes, thoughts and reflections from you or your family member’s military service will help to inspire others to grow and learn through an open dialogue.
If you would like to share your stories, please visit our Story Booth near the VHIP table at each concert date. See you on the road.
“Serving in the United States Air Force” by Greg Vega, Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force 2002-2009
JOHN TALKS VETERANS SUPPORT IN USA TODAY
VETERANS HEALTH AND INTEGRATION PROGRAM
On Friday May 3, 2013, John attended a full day preview of the Veterans Health and Integration Program – a collaboration between John, his fans, and leading scientists in the field of Veterans Health. Based at NCIRE in San Francisco, the program aims to develop new treatments for the wounds of war experienced by Veterans of the US Armed Forces, while facilitating better understandings of Veterans issues to the general public.
Along with a dozen student Veterans, John raised the flag at 11:00 am at the Ft. Scott, located in San Francisco’s historic Presidio Trust, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. John met with scientists and Veterans, discussing the four new projects just underway.
After reviewing a demonstration of the Veterans Group Exercise project (designed to alleviate symptoms of service-related stress through rigorous exercise and integrative medicine), John met with scientists to discuss the biological changes that can occur in Veterans with PTSD.
John then had lunch with eight women Veterans, hearing firsthand the unique strengths and challenges facing women who serve in combat (a role historically reserved for men). John also met with scientists who have researched differences in how women and men respond in different physiological ways to stress.
Veterans, scientists and John had a small group discussion of new developments in the science of PTSD, in the treatment of sleep disorders, immunology and aging in the Veteran population. The Veteran representatives and John had a lengthy conversation about the issues of isolation, anxiety, recovery, and barriers to seeking treatment.
JM attended a military culture workshop, in which experts in the field of military acculturation discussed ways that civilians can engage more comfortably and fluently with military Veterans.
To end the day, John discussed the creative process with Veteran artists, whose military experience has impacted the approach to art and communication.
Back in November we held a raffle via Celebrities For Charity, to spend the day with John volunteering on a project honoring U.S. military Veterans. Yesterday, John, the three winners, and their guests went to work helping paint a house for Veteran, Cliff Malone, in Shreveport, LA. The project was part of Veterans Build 2013, an initiative to build homes for those coming back from duty supported by Roger Waters & the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Read more about yesterday’s endeavor here & watch JM talk about his involvement with helping Veterans here.
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER TALKS TO JOHN ABOUT VETERAN SUPPORT
You can read the full article here.
JOHN MAYER HONORED AT THE RECORDING ACADEMY’S
GRAMMYS ON THE HILL
Each year, the Recording Academy—the governing body that sponsors the Grammy Awards—gathers on Capitol Hill for one week to brief lawmakers on issues related to the music industry and discuss artists’ rights. The week culminates in a gala that honors an elected official for his or her contributions to the music industry and a member of the academy for their commitment to philanthropy. This year’s musician honoree was John Mayer, who was honored for his commitment to the Grammy Foundation’s music education programs for young people and his personal interest in supporting America’s war veterans.
The seven-time Grammy Award-winner started working with the Grammy Foundation when he first burst onto the music scene with his multi-platinum album Room for Squares. Mayer takes part in the foundation’s Grammy Soundcheck Program, where artists go into public high schools and meet with students to help them understand the variety of options available should they be interested in a career in music.
On this particular night, however, the politically-inclined D.C. crowd gathered in The Liaison Hotel ballroom seemed more struck by Mayer’s personal passion in supporting our veterans and helping them adjust to a productive and rewarding civilian life upon their return from active duty.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who it turns out is a longtime fan of Mayer’s music, presented Mayer with his award. In her remarks, the President’s Cabinet Member spoke of having seen Mayer perform live several years earlier at New Orleans’ annual JazzFest and noted his ability to connect to his audience. The Secretary said of Mayer, “I know it’s that same empathy, energy and talent that has led John to reach out and build new partnerships on behalf of our nation’s veterans. Rather than looking at separate symptoms and treatments, John’s approach empowers soldiers and their families to be engaged and involved in their healing process.”
Mayer took the stage and spoke about his growing understanding of using platforms like this awards program to elevate the discussion of veterans and post traumatic stress, which is the focus of his partnership with the Northern California Institute for Research and Education. The partnership, which launched in 2011, includes four pilot programs aimed at combating the negative effects of post traumatic stress, which recent studies indicate may affect as much as 50% of our returning veterans. Mayer’s hope is that the programs will be replicated in other areas of the country in the coming years.
In closing, he appealed to the Capitol Hill audience to leave veterans issues and programs to support veterans in the bipartisan column because our war veterans protect and fight for the liberal, the conservative and everyone in between.
Mayer’s time in the Nation’s Capital included an afternoon meeting with recently injured veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in nearby Maryland. He met privately with veterans and their families to hear their stories and find out how they were healing from their physical wounds. Most of the active military he met with had sustained grave injuries in the two weeks prior to their transfer to Walter Reed.
The partnership with the Northern California Institute for Research and Education
NCIRE – The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading nonprofit research institute in the United States devoted to advancing Veterans health research.
A collaborative effort between John Mayer and NCIRE, The Veterans Health and Integration Program is a civilian / military partnership providing support to military personnel transitioning from combat duty to civilian life. The program fosters the development of new resources and interventions based on the demonstrated needs of military service personnel. With rigorous testing and scientific validation of evidence-based pilot initiatives, the projects serve as national models for improving the lives of veterans as they manage and recover from the physical and psychological stresses of deployment. The program aims to raise public awareness and foster cultural understanding of the strengths, vulnerabilities and sacrifices of those who serve in our nation’s military
The First 4 Pilot Initiatives to be Implemented with Year 1 Funding
Veterans Exercise and Wellness Program
Veterans will receive individual consultation and regular strength / cardiovascular training as a gateway to improved mental and physical health. The program will provide access to exercise and strengthening programs and integrative medicine, tailored to both healthy and wounded warriors.
Integrative Medicine for Traumatic Stress
An integrative medicine protocol adapted to the needs of military personnel will address the growing demand for non-traditional methods to treat – and prevent – physical / mental health challenges for returning warfighters. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments such as mindfulness, controlled breathing and yoga will be modified into a standardized, military-friendly treatment regimen.
Women Warriors Fitness and Nutrition Program
New research shows that post-deployment eating disorders disproportionally affect women who have engaged in combat, and pose a serious threat to long-term mental and physical health. Currently, few screening instruments exist to detect women who may be showing signs of early or advanced eating problems, and VA resources for treatment are limited. This pilot will develop a new screening protocol and an intervention program for those who are showing early signs of an eating disorder.
Military Acculturation Study
In the weeks, months and years following deployment, cultural differences between combat and domestic environments often impede a successful return to civilian life. With high expectations of self-sufficiency, the diagnosis of mental health disorders can lead veterans to internalize feelings of stigma, shame and negative self-attribution. This study will examine military cultural determinants of readjustment into civilian life following military service, and develop techniques to re-cast conventional therapeutic tools in a non-stigmatizing, non-pathological framework.