Military veterans are rightfully viewed as heroes when they return home, but many of them deal with deeper issues that aren’t visible on the surface.
That is why Marine Veteran Ramon Encinas and Matt Dixon co-founded My Veteran Passion (MVP), an organization devoted to tackling the war against veteran suicide.
Dixon said Encinas was his Navy Corpsman or “Doc” as they called him. They served together for four years and developed a friendship.
Encinas developed the idea of My Veteran Passion, and the duo started the organization in June 2019.
“What we saw was a big need for veterans to be able to get mental health and not only to get the mental health but also to find a way that’s adapted to society now to where it’s interesting for those veterans and they feel like they actually belong, or it’s something that entices them to be a part of.”
The organization offers help for veterans through physical fitness, gaming, streaming, therapy and other services.
Dixon said the organization hosts five to six events that include workout plans and streaming events virtually.
“Probably our two biggest things that we offer are Saturdays. We do what we call a salty sailor talk, which is we have a VA sponsor, our VA, peer-to-peer specialist certifications and other mental health certification or certified members who sit in and we have a group discussion,” Dixon said. “One topic might be something that’s very deep and meaningful. You know, survivor’s guilt, and then the next topic might be something a little bit lighthearted, but we encourage the critical thinking aspect and being able to think or talk about what’s been bothering you or on your mind, in a group setting. We do that every Saturday, and we host it through Discord. All of our programs are 100 percent for free.”
Dixon said people who aren’t veterans are also encouraged to join MVP.
“We are a veteran organization a 501 (c)(3), but PTSD, depression and anxiety, plagues everybody,” he said. “It does impact everybody. And if we can just look past all the negativity that is constantly out there, we can focus on getting healthy mentally. Then everything else has can start falling into place. Doc has lost over 40 friends that he served with to suicide.”
Dixon said MVP was started in part because they were tired of saying they wish they could help fellow veterans who were suffering. Now they are.
“We got tired of saying ‘Man, I wish I could have done something. I wish I could have done something’,” he said. “Well, now we can do something. And now we are able to do something. You know, Veterans suicide is a plight that that will carry on.”