On April 2, 2020, the David Lynch Foundation (DLF) will inaugurate The Trauma Project’s campaign to stem the epidemic of veteran suicides by making the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique available free of cost to veterans and their families. A Department of Defense–funded randomized controlled trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry showed the TM technique reduces Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) symptoms and depression equal to or exceeding Prolonged Exposure therapy, the current gold standard of PTS care.
Jon Bon Jovi, Grammy Award winning inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Academy Award-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal will help launch the national campaign at the Thursday, April 2 event, 6:00 p.m. at the Plaza Hotel, New York City. They are strong DLF supporters and longtime TM meditators.
The David Lynch Foundation will honor four U.S. military leaders who are spearheading the “21 to None”® campaign and also practice the TM technique themselves: General James Marks (U.S. Army, Ret.), General Stephen T. Rippe (U.S. Army, Ret.), Admiral Richard Schneider, Ph.D. (U.S. Coast Guard, Ret.), and General Loree K. Sutton, M.D. (U.S. Army, Ret.).
Proceeds will support DLF’s work to reduce from 21 to zero the number of veterans who commit suicide every day by bringing the TM technique to all veterans and their families.
An estimated one million veterans suffer from PTSD, but less than 20 percent receive adequate care due to lack of effective treatments, fear of stigma, or insufficient government resources. Half of those won’t receive any care at all. Left untreated, PTSD places veterans at great risk for violent and self-destructive behavior, and nearly 8,000 vets die by suicide every year.
“The goal of this new national initiative will be to provide every veteran and family member with the opportunity to learn the TM technique, at no cost, to heal trauma, prevent suicides, and raise performance.” —General James Marks (U.S. Army, Ret.)
A Message from General James Marks, “21 to None” Co-Chair
General James “Spider” Marks (Ret.) spent over 30 years in the U.S. Army, holding command positions from infantry platoon leader to commanding general. He is an Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army’s Ranger School and a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. Since retiring from the military, he has continued his engagement in national security as an on-air contributor to CNN and a keynote speaker and author on geo-political issues.
Here is General Marks’ message as the co-chair of “21 to None”:
“Tragically, more than 21 veterans take their own lives every day. In the time it takes to read this, another veteran will fall from the ranks. This national tragedy is compounded by the fact that such acts cause lifelong harm to family members and co-workers—and directly challenge the military’s ethos: ‘No one left behind.’
“Clearly these patriots who choose to release their pain through suicide rather than confront it have been ‘left behind.’ And despite the best efforts of the Veterans Administration, including untold billions of dollars allocated to the treatment of PTS and the reduction of suicidal ideation, the number of veterans taking their own lives continues to grow.
“For more than 15 years, The Trauma Project of the David Lynch Foundation has successfully delivered an evidence-based, trauma-healing meditation technique to more than one million at-risk children, veterans with PTS, and women survivors of violence and assault.
“Extensive research, including randomized controlled trials, has documented the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique for reducing symptoms of PTSD and suicidal ideation, as well as decreasing stress, anxiety, depression, substance use disorder, and heart disease; improving brain and cognitive functioning; and raising performance.
“During 2020, The Trauma Project will focus its considerable expertise, energy, and resources on addressing the terrible problem of high suicide rates among veterans through ’21 to None.’ The goal of this new national initiative will be to provide every veteran and family member with the opportunity to learn the TM technique, at no cost, to heal trauma, prevent suicides, and raise performance.
“Veteran suicides must be stopped. Lives must be saved. Families must be made whole. Here is a practical, scalable, evidence-based medical intervention that should be made available immediately to every veteran and family member. The time to act is now. Please support ’21 to None.'”
“Veteran suicides must be stopped. Lives must be saved. Families must be made whole. Here is a practical, scalable, evidence-based medical intervention that should be made available immediately to every veteran and family member. The time to act is now. Please support ’21 to None.'” —General James Marks
Helping to Secure Government Support through a Large-Scale Clinical Trial
A landmark, three-year Phase III Clinical Trial will begin soon, with 600 veterans in six VA health centers, to study the impact of the TM technique on reducing symptoms of PTSD, preventing suicides, and reducing substance use disorder.
The study has been designed to provide the requisite data on the benefits of the TM technique so that one million veterans with PTSD and their families can learn the TM technique via the veterans’ health care system.
The impact of this proposed study will be substantial. In particular, because the TM technique is a non-trauma focused treatment, it is often preferred to other existing treatments for PTSD that involve confronting anxiety-provoking thoughts and stimuli.
TM® is also relatively low-cost and provides a lifelong tool for promoting mental and physical health.
The TM technique has other benefits as well: It is less emotionally demanding than other PTSD therapies; it produces noticeable benefits within the first month; and it is more self-empowering to veterans, who can practice it on their own.
Because the TM technique is a non-trauma focused treatment, it is often preferred to other existing treatments for PTSD that involve confronting anxiety-provoking thoughts and stimuli. TM is relatively low-cost and provides a lifelong tool for promoting mental and physical health.
Learn more about the findings published in The Lancet Psychiatry in New Study: Department of Defense–Funded Study Shows TM Technique Significantly Reduces PTSD Symptoms in Veterans. A recent white paper compiles all research to date to educate policy makers: 14 Studies Show TM to Be an Effective First-Line Treatment for PTSD.
Private Support through the Veterans Lifeline
The Veterans Lifeline is a three-year national initiative—in partnership with corporations, foundations, and philanthropists—that is raising funds and teaching TM to 10,000 veterans and their families at no cost while the Phase III Clinical Trial is under way and until federal funding is obtained.
This trauma-informed, two-year program will provide 40 hours of individual and group meditation instruction and follow-up for each participating veteran and family member. The certified TM instructors in the program are specially trained and highly experienced.
Many veterans are already reporting the life-changing effects of practicing the TM technique.
As Greg Widmer, an Iraq War veteran, said, “After two tours in Iraq, my mind, body, and soul were utterly exhausted, to say the least. I have received years of counseling for PTSD, but there always remained a deep fatigue that no amount of sleep could satiate. However, I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship through the David Lynch Foundation to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, which has changed my life.
“Within the first few days of learning TM, that deep fatigue was gone. I am calmer and more rested than ever before; even my wife has noticed the change. THANK YOU to the David Lynch Foundation and its generous donors for supporting my learning TM. I can only imagine the cumulative effect of TM in the years to come. I’m spreading the word about TM to my fellow Vets, so again, THANK YOU!”
For more information about how to support the Veterans Lifeline, please contact The Trauma Project at info@DavidLynchFoundation.org.
“Within the first few days of learning TM, that deep fatigue was gone. I am calmer and more rested than ever before; even my wife has noticed the change.” —Greg Widmer, Iraq War Veteran
Honoring Our Military Leadership
At the April 2nd National Inauguration of the “21 to None” campaign, the David Lynch Foundation will honor General Marks along with three fellow meditating leaders:
Major General Stephen T. Rippe (U.S. Army, Ret.), CEO of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, has served as a Trustee on the Norwich University Governing Board since 2006. He has been a Special Adviser to the David Lynch Foundation’s Center for Excellence in Military Health.
General Rippe received a B.S. in Business Administration from Norwich University and was commissioned in infantry as a Distinguished Military Graduate. He served as a ranger, parachute and aviation-qualified infantry officer, and earned a Master of Military Arts and Science from the Advanced Military Studies Program. He is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
Admiral Richard Schneider, Ph.D. (U.S. Coast Guard Ret.) is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and was commissioned as an ensign in the Coast Guard. He served eight years of active duty, including a tour in Vietnam, and retired from the Coast Guard Reserve as a Rear Admiral in 1998.
In 1992, Dr. Schneider became the 23rd President of Norwich University. Since then, he has championed Norwich’s charge to distinguish the university in the marketplace of higher education by preparing students to be global leaders in the private sector, government, and the military. He has been instrumental in incorporating the TM technique into the Norwich curriculum for the past eight years.
General Loree K. Sutton, M.D. (U.S. Army, Ret.) is the founding Commissioner for New York City’s Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS), which is the nation’s first municipal-level agency devoted solely to veterans and their families. As a career Army psychiatrist, Dr. Sutton seeks to demonstrate the essential role of community as the front line of hope and healing, guiding veterans and their families in their journey from “doing better” to actually “getting better,” at home, work, school, and life.
She believes that resilient communities build safety nets and springboards for launching goals. The “whole health” approach she employs incorporates peer support, arts and culture, holistic services, and clinical treatment, laying the foundation for success by restoring trust and overcoming stigma.
Join these leaders in supporting the David Lynch Foundation’s work to reduce the number of veterans who commit suicide every day from 21 to zero, by bringing the TM technique to all veterans and their families.