John had utilized VA counseling services March 12, 2019 with documentation showing a suicide risk plan but no one was notified due to patient privacy/HIPAA. John committed suicide March 22, 2019. Perhaps it was a selectively chosen date as he was involved in 22VA which is a veteran support group that integrates art, music and healing for veterans with the name given based on the data that on average 22 veterans a day commit suicide.
Whatever disconnect occurred between counseling services and John making the choice to end his life, we can only learn from his decision and try to create something positive out of a horrible situation. John was a beloved son, brother, father and lover. He served as a brother in arms for 17 years in the US Army. He was an artist and had a love for music, nature and was always trying to promote the philosophy of good vibes and positive thinking. He was there for every other person, yet somehow had never shared the deep darkness that haunted him. There are always the questions of why and what could have been done differently, but we don’t have those answers. We can only take steps forward to try to heal and grieve while trying to reduce the likelihood of this happening to others. That’s how the Fuller Life Foundation was conceived. We had to do something to take action and create change.
The Fuller Life is established as a 501(3) c non-for-profit. We are recipients of a grant through an initiative called Be Interactive that provides ease in access to mental health services and online counseling. There is specific treatment to address trauma and PTSD called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) “EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.” Treatment can include eye tracking or bilateral stimulation (holding a small pad in each hand that performs alternating vibratory movements to stimulate the R and L side of the brain) while a therapist goes through personal recall of a traumatic experience. Treatments often can be completed in 3-12 sessions depending on extent and amount of traumatic experiences. It is our hope that this can be a part of the healing and processing for veterans wanting to more fully engage in life after the military.
Due to numerous barriers with the current healthcare system in the US, there can often be a delay in referral and scheduling for mental health services. It can take up to 3 months or more to establish and cost can always be an issue depending on insurance providers, finances or lack of insurance coverage. Our foundation has the opportunity to remove some of these barriers and provide hope for living a fuller life.
Please join and support us in this mission.
The Fuller Life Founders
- Lee Dyer (US Navy Veteran)
- Sarah Dyer (sister to John Fuller)
- Severin Gilbert (US Army)