How Nutrition Helps With PTSD

How Nutrition Helps With PTSD

Good Nutrition Is Vital For Physical and Mental Health

Many people, both veterans, and civilians, have to deal with PTSD in their daily life. PTSD is a mental health condition that people may develop, usually after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. Such events could be anything from accidents to sexual assault. 

People with PTSD occasionally relive their traumatic experiences through feelings of panic, dreams, or vivid recollections. Treatment of PTSD usually involves various forms of therapy, such as prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Similarly, there are medications to manage anxiety. 

However, one underrated tool for managing PTSD is nutrition. Nutrition is usually associated with heart health. However, its benefits to the body go beyond this. In this article, we’ll go through how nutrition can be leveraged to help with PTSD.

Relationship between nutrition and PTSD

While PTSD may, at first glance, seem like an issue of the mind that has nothing to do with nutrition, this is not true. Good nutrition is vital for overall excellent health, even in relation to mental health. We know that having a healthy diet can help optimize mood and cognitive functions. 

Beyond this, however, nutrition is an essential consideration with PTSD since patients are associated with poor eating habits that can result in other conditions like heart disease and diabetes. So, people with PTSD need to pay close attention to their nutrition and ensure their diet is as healthy as possible.

Steps to using nutrition to help with PTSD

Avoid foods that excessively increase blood sugar levels

If you have PTSD, it’s advisable to reduce your intake of sugar and processed foods. This is because taking in too much sugar can result in insulin fluctuation, which can worsen your emotional responses. 

Hence, while it might be tempting to distract yourself with junk food from time to time, it’s best to opt for a healthier diet for proper emotion regulation. So, as opposed to cakes and biscuits, try to take more complex carbohydrates.

Take prebiotic-rich foods

PTSD can significantly impact your guts, affecting your overall health in many ways. For one, it could lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. You can, however, help support your gut microbiome by consuming more foods rich in prebiotics. Foods like onions, broccoli, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes are naturally rich in prebiotics.

Pay attention to your magnesium levels

Magnesium is an important nutrient, especially for people with PTSD. Unfortunately, there’s evidence to suggest that the western diet, i.e., processed foods, tends to contain low magnesium levels. 

If you are overly reliant on processed foods, you may be magnesium-deficient. This could contribute to anxiety and depression. You can get more magnesium by consuming fish like tuna and vegetables.

Consider taking supplements

Even when you try to make your diet balanced and healthy, you might still end up not taking enough of some essential nutrients. This is why it might be necessary to consider taking supplements. 

If you’re not getting enough magnesium, for instance, you can consume magnesium supplements. You should also consider Omega 3 supplementation since Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to be beneficial for mental health. 

Similarly, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have been associated with reduced risk of anxiety and depression. You can check some top-reviewed BCAA supplements.

Final thoughts

As we’ve shown in this article, your nutrition is relevant to PTSD in more ways than you might think. Overall, it is best to steer clear of processed foods and adopt a healthy diet rich in beneficial nutrients.

About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.

2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report

2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report

The VA has released the latest update on the state of Veteran suicide in America. You can find it here. There is good news in the new report to show that the recent efforts from a variety of organizations are paying off. Several hopeful data points from this year’s report serve as anchors:

• 399 fewer Veterans died from suicide in 2019 than in 2018, reflecting the lowest raw count of Veteran suicides since 2007.

• From 2005 to 2018, identified Veteran suicides increased on average by 48 deaths each year. A reduction of 399 suicides within one year is unprecedented, dating back to 2001.

• The single-year decrease in the adjusted suicide rate for Veterans from 2018 to 2019 (7%) was larger than any observed for Veterans from 2001 through 2018. Further, the Veteran rate of decrease (7.2%) exceeded by four
times the non-Veteran population decrease (1.8%) from 2018 to 2019.

• There was a nearly 13% one-year rate (unadjusted rate) decrease for female Veterans, which represents the largest rate decrease for Women Veterans in 17 years.

• COVID-19-related data continues to emerge and clarify, but data thus far do not indicate an increase in Veteran suicide-related behaviors.

About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.

Mission Daybreak’s Top Three Worst Winning Ideas

Mission Daybreak’s Top Three Worst Winning Ideas

Mission Daybreak is a contest that is open to the public and it is an attempt to get great new ideas in how to stop the national crisis that is Veteran suicide. Mission Daybreak is part of VA’s 10-year strategy to end Veteran suicide through a comprehensive, public health approach. There is $20 million worth of prize money handed out with nothing really coming back in return. What follows are the Mission Daybreak’s Top Three Worst Winning Ideas, but first, a little about the money being wasted.

Mission Daybreak’s Phase 1 awarded $8.5 million: 30 finalists each received $250,000 and advance to the Phase 2 accelerator, where they will gain exclusive access to tailored resources. An additional 10 teams each received a Promise Award of $100,000.

Mission Daybreak’s Phase 2 will award $11.5 million: Two first-place winners will each receive $3 million, three second-place winners will each receive $1 million, and five third-place winners will each receive $500,000.

To be honest, we submitted an idea to Mission Daybreak and the VA. Both were based on science and using emerging and proven mental health drugs and techniques. During the discovery phase of the contest, this author asked the panel if PTSD abatement using ketamine-assisted psychotherapy was in their field of view. No answer was given. It was ignored. From the softball examples they tossed out as past winning ideas, it was clear that they were playing the game and not wanting to get their hands dirty. Meanwhile, hundreds of Veterans will not be using their ideas. Our idea have already proven to save lives and change the Veteran families for the better.

Here are Mission Daybreak’s Top Three Worst Winning Ideas, but they all will have very little real world impact on slowing down Veteran suicide and none of them address the root cause: PTSD. You will notice a pattern of technology used to identify at-risk Veterans.

Code of Support Foundation operates, which ensures members of the military, Veterans, their spouses, caregivers, and families receive the resources and support they have earned through their service and sacrifice. is a free cloud-based targeted resource navigation platform that ensures Veterans at risk for suicide get the support they need by connecting them with thousands of curated, vetted, and verified direct services.

Why It Is Useless: This one wins our Most Useless of the Useless Award. Why? It’s a referral service to other agencies!

BioMojo creates integrated extended reality (XR) software and hardware solutions to improve performance, decision-making, knowledge management, resilience, safety, and mission-critical task execution for human operators in high consequence environments. In partnership with Veteran correctional leaders, correctional staff, justice-involved Veterans, health professionals, researchers, and technical and creative experts, the solution will employ cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) within interactive role-play and immersive decompression XR-based scenarios to support Veterans living and working in prison.

Why It Is Useless: Its only good in prisons!

Cogitativo is a leading augmented intelligence company with a mission to create and implement innovative, scalable solutions to the most complex challenges facing the healthcare system. Their machine learning platform, Visión, captures large sets of unique data points, including audio and visual data, to produce digital biomarkers. These digital biomarkers provide an unprecedented capability to better identify those who are at risk of suicide and enable early-stage and personalized interventions by augmenting VA’s existing REACH VET platform.

Why It Is Useless: It uses the VA’s REACH VET platform and, is, you guessed it, a referral program!

To be fair, all of these ideas are next to useless because they don’t address the root cause, they only treat the symptom.

Here are the rest of Mission Daybreak 30 Finalists and 10 Promise Award recipients – All of which are non-root cause based wastes of money.

Continued Service Network
Developed by a team of clinicians, researchers, and Veterans, the Continued Service Network (CSN) is a Veteran-led crowdsourcing technology that leverages the power of collective Veteran experience and passive unobtrusive behavioral sampling to yield personalized, just-in-time nudge interventions. The solution supports a consensus-generating platform where Veterans and Veteran family members share information on the skills, treatments, and resources that worked best for them. An AI recommendation engine leverages data derived from Veterans’ participation to provide personalized, just-in-time nudge interventions.

Early Alert
Founded by a retired Israeli Defense Force officer who later obtained a PhD in Psychology from Stanford University, Early Alert is currently deployed at educational and medical institutions serving tens of thousands of individuals, including Veterans. Early Alert is revolutionizing suicide prevention by focusing on upstream prevention of suicidality through proactive weekly SMS check-ins, identification of Veterans in early distress, and instant activation of VA and community support resources, including the Veteran Crisis Line. Using population-level analytics, Early Alert empowers data-guided wellness policies and transfer of innovation across institutions.

Even Health
Even Health is a mental health company solving access, trust, and stigma challenges unique to healthcare professionals and military communities. Using an innovative virtual reality (VR)-based group support platform called Cabana®, Even Health will deliver virtual group support for Veterans who have survived a suicide attempt. The solution uses an established support group model shown to reduce suicide and associated factors as well as increase resilience and belongingness.

EverMind’s digital health solutions use technology funded by NASA to expand access to effective mental healthcare with an AI-powered Digital Human Therapist™ that recreates the warmth and support of an expert therapist in a scalable format. The Veteran Edition of EverMind’s ePST® solution will integrate Veteran-centered design and additional suicide prevention strategies with problem-solving therapy, an approach that resonates with the military mindset. Accessible anywhere, anytime, it will help fill gaps in access to this evidence-based suicide prevention intervention across the care continuum.

GUIDE is a revolutionary concept in addressing suicide risk factors by empowering Warriors to master their lives, unleash their highest potential, and thrive in any environment. The solution uses a daily practice method based on personal development, positive psychology, and transformational learning in an anonymous mobile app leveraging peer support, Warrior to Warrior.

HERMTAC MAIL, located on the campus of University of Texas at Dallas, is a Lab 2 Market Frontier Tech Systems Integrator for public good that has won several national innovation awards. HERMTAC’s Marketing, AI & Learning program tackles suicide across all time domains in the two Alaskan counties with over double the next highest suicide rate, building culturally modifiable tools and frameworks expandable beyond Alaskan natives. The solution utilizes a three-pronged approach, with culturally-tailored marketing campaigns to reduce social stigmas, a free micro-credentialing platform for professional learning, and a real-time audio emotional AI visual mood ring to help gauge a Veteran’s basic emotional state during a VCL triage call.

Metastage is a leader in metaverse-facing holographic capture. The interoperable suicide prevention, awareness, and education app utilizes a synthesis of cutting-edge technologies, including volumetric capture digital avatars and branching-narrative technology to create an immersive extended reality (XR) training experience.

Mindstrong is a virtual mental health platform that combines care, data, and technology and specializes in persons with any mental health condition, including suicidality. The solution will expand the digital virtual mental health platform with Data-Empowered Care Plans (DECP) and care optimization technology developed uniquely for Veterans suffering from mental illness to ensure the right level of care is anticipated and available.

NeuroFlow assesses and triages Veterans and caregivers to get them to the right level of behavioral healthcare and community services based on their available benefits, geography, clinical presentation, and more. Designed for suicide prevention and ongoing remote monitoring, NeuroFlow provides high-tech and high-touch support for Veterans that would typically fall through the cracks. The two-sided technology platform offers Veterans tailored resources and digital care 24/7, while measuring their evolving behavioral health needs to inform care teams of potential crises before they happen.

One Meaningful Act
One Meaningful Act (OMA) is a novel, easy-to-access, Veteran-centered solution that provides crisis transportation and increases engagement with VA services.

Overwatch Project
The Overwatch Project, an initiative of the 501c3 nonprofit FORGE, saves lives by transforming the conversation about firearms and suicide prevention through a comprehensive peer-intervention program that includes training, community engagement, and communications initiatives crafted in a direct, authentic Veteran voice. The Overwatch Project empowers veterans to intervene with at-risk buddies, asking to temporarily hold onto their guns or take protective storage measures — before it’s too late. This evidence-based approach is modeled after the “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” campaign.

OxfordVR is the leader in building automated treatments for severe mental illness using immersive virtual reality (VR). The solution will integrate evidence-based VR treatment tools to identify and treat critical precursors to crises that lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, offering an immersive and scalable opportunity to treat Veterans where they are before a crisis moment.

Polaris Genomics
Polaris Genomics, a Veteran-owned company, is propelling modern mental healthcare toward a long-overdue dawn of precision medicine by combining its next-generation genomic sequencing tool with its bioinformatics and machine learning platform. The solution will empower providers to identify mental health conditions earlier and with higher accuracy to match Veterans with the most effective treatment to reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

ReflexAI brings the best in machine learning and natural language processing to mission-driven, people-centric organizations via innovative tools that transform how they train, develop, and empower their frontline teams. The solution will utilize multiple AI-powered simulations and best-in-class feedback tools to help the VCL train and maintain a team of responders that can meet the needs of every Veteran who reaches out. Its simulation approach is nationally recognized as an innovative and responsible use of AI in crisis services.

SameGrain, Inc.
SameGrain’s award-winning AI-enabled Community Engagement Platform uses machine learning matching algorithms to privately connect Veterans, family members, and caregivers on millions of shared attributes for meaningful peer connections as well as support. In addition to connecting individuals to relevant peers, mentors, chat groups, and resources to reduce isolation and meet their mental health needs, this solution also gathers anonymized data onto a dashboard for actionable insights.

Sentinel is a highly-scalable mobile application designed to reduce Veteran suicide by encouraging safe storage of firearms, while facilitating strong connections with other Veterans, family, and friends via a Veteran-specific learning and community support network. The software application will integrate Bluetooth-enabled firearms locking devices with a Veteran-specific learning and community support network, utilizing the “Three-Step Theory” (3ST) of suicide to give Veterans a practical safety support system.

Stop Soldier Suicide
Stop Soldier Suicide is the first national, Veteran-founded-and-led nonprofit on a mission to reduce service member and Veteran suicide by 40% by 2030 using enhanced data insights, focused client acquisition, and trauma-informed suicide intervention services. The solution will activate robust clinical and technological teams to pair evidence-based, lifesaving suicide intervention services with unique data forensics, analytics, and artificial intelligence to identify patterns of risk in suicidal Veterans.

Team BraveMind
Team BraveMind’s solution, Battle Buddy, is a virtual human wellness app that provides on-demand virtual peer support through remote monitoring and virtual human interactions to help Veterans build resilience against suicide.

Team DSS, Inc.
Team DSS, composed of innovators and Veterans in medicine, psychology, and technology, is committed to caring for and supporting Veterans by leveraging Trustworthy AI to assist operators in triaging callers to the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), improving services to each Veteran caller. The solution’s multidimensional approach detects suicidal risk level in real-time using machine learning techniques, improving distress prediction accuracy.

Team Guidehouse
Guidehouse empowers confident decision-making using advanced and actionable analytics. In partnership with Red Hat and Philip Held, Ph.D., Rush University Medical Center, the team is helping VA and community providers identify Veterans at risk for suicide by combining REACH-VET, social media, and social determinants of health data and connecting it in real-time with VA’s new electronic health record system — before a crisis occurs. This data also supports building community-based and human-centered programs so Veterans can thrive where they are.

Team IntelliDyne
IntelliDyne is a leading government information technology firm enabling better mission performance through innovative technology solutions. The “CALLS” solution implements a data-driven behavioral model for anonymously assessing wellness risk to generate a risk-ranked call-list of Veterans who would benefit from directed outreach efforts, thereby improving behavioral health outcomes and vitally reducing the Veteran suicide rate.

Team LMI
LMI is a consultancy dedicated to powering a future-ready, high-performing government, drawing from expertise in digital and analytic solutions, logistics, and management advisory services. The solution focuses on enhancing services for suicidal Veterans presenting to a community Emergency Department (ED), facilitating Veteran-centric assessment and their first tele-mental health appointment in the ED with a provider knowledgeable of Veteran issues and a peer support representative, and provisioning resources to address immediate crisis care needs, follow-on treatment, and sustained support.

Team SoKat
SoKat is a woman-owned small business that has deep roots in academic rigor and research, unparalleled industry experience in designing human-centric artificial intelligence solutions, and has won awards for the innovative tools developed to empower Veterans on their healthcare journey. The solution pairs clinical and non-clinical data sources with SoKat’s multimodal AI technology for Veteran suicide prediction and prevention while applying the most stringent standards of AI ethics.

Televeda is an award-winning social venture with a mission to combat social isolation and loneliness for vulnerable populations. As part of its solution, Televeda will increase broadband access and tech literacy on tribal land and build the first Indigenous community-based mental health app developing racially equitable Computer Vision and NLP AI designed to facilitate a trusted therapy resource network — including live group support and culturally sensitive interventions — to prevent suicide for Native Veterans.

Unite Us
Unite Us is a Veteran founded technology company and a national leader in building coordinated care networks of health and social service providers. Unite Us is committed to reducing Veteran suicide by identifying and predicting social care needs of Veterans and providing accountable social care coordination to ensure they receive services at the point of need and before crisis.

Vara Safety
Vara Safety is a New York-based startup advancing reliable biometric access and smart software for firearm safety, focusing on reducing suicide by firearm and unauthorized access through the secure storage of firearms. The Vara Smart App’s integrated technology enables a user to reduce access to their firearm in a moment of crisis. The app connects with a gun safe to provide gun owners a unique set of features to prevent suicide.

VETSTORE Partnership
VETSTORE connects Veterans to free firearm storage solutions through community-based firearm retailers and shooting ranges. The solution prioritizes the privacy, preferences, and autonomy of Veterans and mitigates cost, stigma, and practical barriers to secure firearm storage solutions.

Meet the Mission Daybreak Promise Award recipients

Arkansas Nurse-Led Academic Community Partnership Innovation (ANACP)
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Centers on Aging, College of Nursing and Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence developed the Arkansas Nurse-Led Academic Community Partnership. The team evolved the rural outreach program for technology implementation and access to resources into an innovative food insecurity and suicide prevention program for at-risk Veterans. The program seeks to address all needs wherever one feels safe and has access to necessary resources through innovative delivery solutions.

Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, text-based mental health support and crisis intervention. The solution will supplement the work of the VCL by providing fully-acculturated crisis support and culturally competent resources for Spanish-speaking Veterans.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions/Public Consulting Group
ReachFurther advances the REACH VET program by integrating social risk insights into predictive analytics and prevention interventions. The solution will supplement VA’s predictive analytics with alternative, real-world, near-real time data sets that provide deep insight into individual-level social risks to perform effective intervention, especially for underserved individuals.

OBT Development Group
The OBT Development Group’s “One Button Tracker” provides a simple, reliable, and privacy-protected method to express and register personal experience in precise detail. Co-created by Veterans handling complex mental health challenges, the OBT “precision psychotherapy” method for supporting clinical treatment and self-management of PTSD allows Veterans and their therapists to observe symptoms at an unprecedented level of detail.

Oui Therapeutics
Together with leading suicidologists and digital health developers, including the American Legion, Oui Therapeutics will develop and implement Collaborative Assessment & Planning for Suicide Prevention with Peer Lead User Support (“CAPS+”), a digital collaborative assessment and planning software for reducing suicide risk when paired with peer-led user support. The solution will help care settings screen, assess, and intervene with Veterans and patients at risk for suicide, offering integration with medical systems to save clinician time.

Project Overwatch
Project Overwatch combines policy changes and program implementation with an ensemble of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning-based predictive models optimized to specific segments of the Veteran population distinguished by such factors as age, length of service, or era of service. The solution’s deep learning models will assess Veterans’ suicide risk, generating a tiered risk score, individual risk factors, and a re-evaluation date based on the Veteran’s risk tier to assist care teams with crafting a personalized treamtent strategy.

RAS Innovation
RAS Innovation’s Veteran Health Observation Platform (V-HOP) is a two-way, 4k-interactive holographic communications solution that connects VA health providers to Veterans anywhere and anytime. V-HOP is the next step beyond immersive telepresence with life-size holographic replicas.

Sound Off
Knowing that fear of professional and personal stigma keeps Veterans from accessing help, Sound Off seeks to reduce Veteran suicide by providing access to mental health support with complete anonymity. The IT platform is delivered via mobile app, giving Veterans access to mental health care through a licensed clinician, a screened and trained “Battle Buddy” peer, or through partner X2.Ai’s clinically-validated chatbot “Clara”. Sound Off allows consistent contact with the same clinician or peer and complete anonymity, inherently addressing concerns of stigma.

Voi, Inc.
Voi’s state-of-the-art technology is the only validated suicide risk assessment designed to detect near-term (within the next 72 hours) suicide risk. Voi Detect’s Systematic Expert Risk Assessment for Suicide (SERAS) is a published, peer-reviewed, AI-informed assessment that is as accurate as a psychiatrist, can be quickly administered without specialized training, and is currently used in hospitals, prisons, and by the U.S. military. After delivering SERAS, Voi Detect generates real-time risk scores (low, medium, or high) and monitors and tracks operational and compliance metrics.

Wavy Warrior
Wavy Health connects everyday wearable devices and smart home speakers to watch over vulnerable people and intervene if necessary. The Wavy Warrior solution provides personalized real-time monitoring, stress interventions, and suicide prevention by reducing the level of perceived stress, including risky and harmful behaviors, through a deep tech medical device platform for digital therapeutics (DTx).


About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.

What Is The Mission Daybreak Contest?

What Is The Mission Daybreak Contest?

Mission Daybreak is a contest that is open to the public and it is an attempt to get great new ideas in how to stop the national crisis that is Veteran suicide. Mission Daybreak is part of VA’s 10-year strategy to end Veteran suicide through a comprehensive, public health approach. There is $20 million worth of prize money handed out with nothing really coming back in return. A $20 million grand challenge to reduce Veteran suicides. It is the brainchild of The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Mission Daybreak is fostering solutions across a broad spectrum of focus areas. A diversity of solutions will only be possible if a diversity of solvers — including Veterans, researchers, technologists, advocates, clinicians, health innovators, and service members — answer the call to collaborate and share their expertise.

The contest really has no clear goal or deliverable, other than handing out money to winning ideas and then handing out more money for those ideas to be developed. As we said in another post found here, all of them are big money wasters and they do what the VA does best: mess up Veterans. As you can see on the link, they all only help to identify at-risk Veterans. Nothing is done to solve the problem. The only positive we see from the Mission Daybreak contest is that at least the just as useless but more cuddly service dogs did not receive any useless money. 


Here’s More On Mission Daybreak Contest

Mission Daybreak contest’s Phase 1 awarded $8.5 million: 30 finalists each received $250,000 and advance to the Phase 2 accelerator, where they will gain exclusive access to tailored resources. An additional 10 teams each received a Promise Award of $100,000.

Mission Daybreak contest’s Phase 2 will award $11.5 million: Two first-place winners will each receive $3 million, three second-place winners will each receive $1 million, and five third-place winners will each receive $500,000.

Mission Daybreak is a two-phase grand contest. Phase 1 was open to all eligible solvers — including Veterans, researchers, technologists, advocates, clinicians, health innovators, and service members — to submit detailed concepts. The winners were all bad ideas that do nothing to address the root cause of Veteran suicide which is 

Mission Daybreak Contest Phase 1 criteria

Veteran-centered design
Extent to which the concept reflects the true lived experience of Veterans and clearly articulates the population it is intended to serve. Extent to which the concept promotes equity by designing for the unique circumstances of a specific population.

Extent to which the concept outlines where it will operate and how it will sustainably reduce Veteran suicides.

Extent to which the concept demonstrates a level of advancement beyond established scientific methods, technology, and current practices. Extent to which the concept represents a range of cross-disciplinary expertise.

Extent to which the concept is grounded in evidence-based or evidence-informed research and incorporates further evidence development in future plans.

Extent to which the concept is able to complement, build off of, or integrate into existing VA systems and can sustainably grow to make a significant impact on the Veteran population.

Ethical approach
Extent to which the concept takes into account any ethical considerations applicable to its approach, including ethical data collection practices, safe messaging practices, and privacy concerns.



Mission Daybreak Contest Phase 2 criteria

Veteran-centered design
Extent to which the solution will be accessible to the Veteran population it is intended to serve.

Extent to which the refined solution has the potential to significantly reduce suicides for its intended Veteran population.

Extent to which the solution demonstrates a level of advancement beyond initial submission, established scientific methods, existing technologies, and current practices, and effectively uses challenge resources or feedback.

Extent to which the refined solution’s timeline and development plan are thoroughly detailed, feasible, and actionable.

Extent to which the solution’s testing and development plan complements, builds off of, or integrates into existing VA systems and can sustainably grow to impact the solution’s intended Veteran population.

Ethical approach
Extent to which the solution takes into account any additional ethical considerations raised in Phase 1.



About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Veterans Give KAP Rave Reviews

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) uses microdosing (very small amounts) of the ketamine to allow the patient to have disassociative experience. It is during this disassociative experience, also known as microdosing to trip out, that the erasing magic of KAP happens. The medicine is delivered in a clinic setting by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). The CRNA is the assisted part of KAP. They will be your guide and contact during the treatment. They administer the medicine via an IV-drip. The session lasts about 45 minutes with time on either end to prepare and recover. You will need a ride home just like any other medical procedure that uses this type of medicine. Our nationwide reach has shown that 6 session are required by the hundreds of KAP clinics found across the country. Three follow-up treatments happen over the following 1-6 months depending on the individual. You and your CRNA, who is with you all the time, will decide what’s best for you.

We are currently taking application for fully-covered treatment for Veterans or their family members.

KAP Is A Veteran Suicide Ass-Kicker

OAS advocates for the adoption of KAP at every VA, who needs to accelerate this and other psychedelic drugs to deal with the crisis that is 17 Veteran suicides a day. I have spoken to numerous Veterans with haunting memories from their service of one kind or another. All were at the end of their ropes and all found KAP to turn around and save their lives. The same can be said for their families who had to endure their PTSD, depression and anxiety without a way to help or help protect themselves from getting “infected” by their loved ones’ afflictions.

For Once A Soldier, 17 Veteran suicides a day means 17 families thrown into financial and emotional chaos.

What About The Cost?

Let’s first talk about the cost of ketamine. It is cheap. Super-cheap. It has been off-patent for many years now, and this benefit is not being leveraged by the VA. See below about how cheap it can be. Sadly, for now, it is out of the reach of most Veterans who are suicidal. From speaking to a variety of Vets and family across the country, we’ve seen prices for an individual session range from $120-$360. You won’t find it cheaper, and our experience shows that the middle or upper end of this range is what you can expect. Higher prices tend to be found in places like NYC and LA and the more affluent suburbs and towns across America. So the cost of ketamine is reasonable; what costs are the CRNAs – worth every penny – and the facility. For six sessions plus three follow-ups, you’re looking at anywhere between $1,080 to $3,240. Also, expect to pay for on-going visits just to keep the demons at bay.

As we noted in July of 2019 when SPRAVATO® nasal spray was approved by the FDA for VA use (highly-expensive), we thought that is was more about politics and money-grabbling than real care for our Veterans. The FDA tests were near complete failures and the drug itself if literally only half as good, if at all, because it is literally only half of the ketamine molecule. Since ketamine of off-patent, Johnson & Johnson had to invent a new one to patent. Read more about that here.

Hmm, where can we find a way to cut costs on the facility and the CRNAs?

The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,298 health care facilities, including 171 medical centers and 1,113 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year. Source

There are over 1,100 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) serve in the Veterans Health Administration. Source

The VA should start a KAP program to fight Veteran suicide today. Sadly, there are lobbyists from all sides of the medical and pharmaceutical industry that don’t’ want that to happen in a manner that is best for our Veterans. This is frustrating for all, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology sums up their position here.

The battleground for attaining the lucrative VA services is a battleground with unexpected combatants. A struggle between the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is ongoing as the two battle over a bill that would limit the ability of CRNAs to practice in VA system hospitals.

Historically, VA hospitals have only allowed physician anesthesiologists to treat patients, but during COVID, with staff limited and patient needs high, restrictions were relaxed. In April 2020 they allowed CRNAs to practice independently in some VA hospitals to alleviate the burden. Now that the pandemic caseloads are lowering, the American Society of Anesthesiologists has introduced a bill to once again restrict the practice authority of CRNAs in VA hospitals. Source

No matter the outcome of these issues in the future, the hear and now doesn’t care. Today, as you read this, 17 Veterans will take their service revolver or Glock, find a place at home or in their cars or at the VA, and blow their brains out. Those same tortured brains are now spread out over the family living room sofa, or the seat of the truck, or a lonely bedroom somewhere that became a fortress against the demons of PTSD, depression, and sadness. Let’s go people.


About Once A Soldier: Starting in 2017, our mission is to limit the scars of Veteran suicide. We offer prevention services and postvention services. We reach a national audience and our goal is to become the preferred channel for those who want to help Veteran families who need our services. With 17 Veteran suicides a day in 2021, we believe our two niche services will make a difference to each family and to our nation.