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HonorVet.org The Next Generation Community for Veterans

Jesse Canella: Working to "Win the War at Home"

Jesse Canella, honorvet.orgJesse Canella

"There's another war. It's behind the curtains of U.S. homes, seen at businesses, unemployment lines, roadways, hospitals, VFW's and on your block. It's the war returning servicemen and women face as they struggle to re-adjust to life in the states. Many are beset by depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse problems, lack of economic opportunity, anxiety, injuries, and assorted family issues."

More than 1.6 million American troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, and many have come home with mental health issues. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated one in eight suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms; another estimates that up to 300,000 have developed some mental health problem. But many don't see a psychiatrist or psychologist, some because they fear the stigma of being labeled mentally ill, some because they won't or can't acknowledge that they need help. The unemployment rate for returning veterans hit 21.1% in March of last year.

Welcome to a Big Picture Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio. HonorVet.org was founded by two US Marine Vets, Jesse Canella and Jimmy McCain -- after they returned from active duty in the Al An Bar Province, Iraq. Their organization is devoted to providing resources and support for veterans, service members and their families. I'm honored to have on the show Jesse Canella.

The number of service members discharged specifically for mental health reasons is up 64 percent from 2005 to 2009.
The unemployment rate for returning veterans hit 21.1% in March of 2010
According to USA Today, the Army reported suicides were at a record high in June 2010.
More than 60 percent of Service Members report receiving some kind of mental health care since returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. More than 5 percent of recently returning Service Members showed signs of significant mental health problems.
Even more alarming, when these same Service Members were reevaluated 3-6 months later, up to 40 percent exhibited signs of severe emotional distress.
According to a recent report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 18 Veterans commit suicide everyday.

Questions Peter Clayton asks Jesse Canella in this podcast:

You served in Iraq with Jimmy McCain, Senator John McCain's son. Tell us about the inspiration for forming HonorVet.

I've read you were gripped by depression when you returned from Iraq, can you share with us your personal story?

Figures released by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2010 show a dramatic increase in suicide among veterans aged 18 to 29, due in large part to multiple deployments and the overall stress of combat. These are veterans you don't see in the VA hospitals, am I right?

What are some of the biggest challenges facing soldiers transitioning to civilian life?

The tagline on HonorVet.org is "The Next Generation Community for Veterans." How so?

You recently partnered with System One, a staffing and solutions firm. Tell us about the partnership.

Jesse a lot of recruiters, sourcers, and HR professionals listen to this podcast. How can we help you and the HonorVet community?

About Jesse Canella, Chief Executive Officer / Co - Founder

Jesse was born and raised in Ridgewood, NJ and joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17 as an Infantry Rifleman. After receiving a secret clearance he was assigned to guard nuclear and strategic weapons for two years and held various leadership roles. Shortly after his transition to Camp Pendleton, CA he deployed to Iraq in 2007 with 1st Battalion 1st Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division for a 7 month combat deployment. During his deployment he conducted over 180 missions in the Al An Bar Province as the body guard to the mission commander and lead turret gunner.

Jesse founded HonorVet Inc. in 2010 as part of his dedication to give back to the Veterans' community, of which he is an active member as an executive council member for VFW, American Legion Member, and frequent volunteer at events hosted in his local Veterans Hospital. Jesse held a regional executive position for a security and investigations company managing operations in multiple states. Jesse is currently the General Manager for System One and directs corporate initiatives nationally, which are aimed at promoting employment for veterans of all generations. This summer, pursuing his vision to help Veterans recover, re-integrate and thrive in civilian life, Jesse was awarded with the "Dream and Innovation Award" at an entrepreneurial program for disabled veterans at Syracuse University. He has also been honored as the keynote speaker and Honorary Captain for the Syracuse University football team, and frequently speaks for the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Rotary Club, large corporations, various schools and community gatherings.

Jesse also sits on the Board of Directors for the Patriot Brass Ensemble. He is being honored as the 2011 Courage Award recipient from the Care Plus Foundation for his work to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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