Saving Our Veterans Is an Ongoing Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose


This article was produced in partnership with Land Rover

Veterans have sacrificed immensely for their country, but sometimes their toughest battle is returning to civilian life. Many vets struggle with physical and mental health issues, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and depression. Nearly 16 veterans die by suicide every day in the U.S., according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Fortunately, there are thousands of nonprofits that are dedicated to helping veterans heal, preventing that ill-fated outcome. Mike Sarraille, a retired Navy SEAL and host of Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior podcast, says these nonprofits are needed now more than ever, especially after the longest war in American history.

“When you come out of the War in Afghanistan, which lasted almost 20 years and involved nearly 775,000 troops serving at least one tour of duty there, you see the emotional impacts on these individuals,” he says. “It doesn’t mean these people are broken. What they’re experiencing are normal reactions to the abnormal conditions of war.”

Sarraille explains that different veterans may need different types of support and treatment. “A natural psychedelic treatment might do the trick for one; equine therapy might work for another,” he says. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution.”

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But many nonprofits that serve veterans are facing a challenge: donor fatigue. As the war fades from public attention, so does the funding for these organizations. Sarraille compares it to financing a startup: “It’s a lack of capital. Quite frankly, I think you’re going to see that over the next few years. The situation could get worse.”

So, how can you help? One way is to donate money to one or more nonprofits that align with your values and interests. Sarraille suggests using to research organizations and check their ratings and financial transparency. You can also donate your time and skills by volunteering or offering your expertise to a nonprofit that could use your help.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are organizations Sarraille has personally been involved with, donated to, and recommends:


U.S. combat vets deserve the best care possible for their TBI, PTSD, addiction, and other mental health challenges, but many of them are not getting it from the conventional treatments available in the U.S. That’s why Marcus Capone, a former Navy SEAL, and his wife, Amber, founded VETS, which connects veterans with psychedelic-assisted therapies that can transform their lives. Based in Southlake, TX, the organization also supports research on how psychedelics can end the veteran suicide crisis.

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Big Fish Foundation

This Colorado Springs, CO-based organization believes veterans have the power to shape their own stories and heal their own wounds. Founded by Major Brian Chontosh, USMC (ret.), a hero of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the nonprofit empowers veterans to take charge of their mental health through education, training, and advocacy. Big Fish Foundation organizes and sponsors events that help veterans reconnect with their service values, bond with their fellow warriors, and learn how to thrive in civilian life.

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HunterSeven Foundation

Founded by veterans and healthcare providers who experienced or witnessed the damaging effects of toxic exposure, HunterSeven Foundation is a nonprofit that reveals the health consequences many post-9/11 veterans face. The Providence, RI-based org conducts and disseminates research globally to educate and guide clinical practice for healthcare providers and veterans. It also supports veterans and families who have been harmed by military exposures through an immediate needs program.

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Heroes and Horses

Heroes and Horses is a nonprofit that uses equine therapy to heal combat veterans with physical and mental scars. From the Gallatin Valley, MT, the organization runs a unique program that blends wilderness adventures with equine skills. H&H also raises awareness about the challenges and opportunities that veterans face after service.

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Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a Tampa, FL-based org that was founded in 1980 after a tragic rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran. It honors the sacrifice of fallen and wounded special operations personnel by supporting their families with full college scholarships. It also delivers immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel who are severely wounded, ill, or injured.

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2023 Defender Service Awards

If you know a great charity for veterans that needs more recognition, nominate it for the Veteran and Civil Servant Outreach Award, as part of this year’s Defender Service Awards. The initiative shines a much-deserved spotlight on those who embody compassion, bravery, and an unwavering dedication to doing good.

Nominations are open now until July 21, 2023. Anyone can refer a nonprofit by entering the organization’s name and email contact in the Defender Service Awards’ online submission form. The nonprofit will then receive information on how to enter, by submitting a video up to three minutes in length that showcases their service work and explains how a Defender 130 vehicle would help support their cause. (Read more about this year’s Defender Service Awards here.)

A panel of esteemed judges will carefully evaluate the submissions. Finalist videos will then be made available for public voting on and, starting in September.


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