[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Hi everybody welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Michelle Lang. Michelle has created Veteran Help Point, which is a nonprofit organization that curates, vetted local resources for veterans and their families. And we’re gonna discuss this incredible resource that’s available right now, and the importance of finding these important vetted resources that are out there to.
[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: Veterans and the veteran community. So welcome to the show, Michelle. I’m glad to have you on.
[00:00:54] Michelle Lang: Yeah, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
[00:00:56] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So, why don’t you tell us a little bit about [00:01:00] yourself for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with you and your background?
[00:01:03] Michelle Lang: Sure.
[00:01:04] Michelle Lang: So, my name is Michelle Lang. I’ve been a military spouse, I guess now for seven years, if I’m doing the math. Right. So I. First met my husband. He lives in the same town that I went to college and eight months later decided to quit my job, quit my career and move up to Fort drum with him. So that’s kind of where My mixed bag of feelings started with the military because I couldn’t get a job.
[00:01:34] Michelle Lang: I, and I was like this educated person. I just left this really amazing job that I had. And the only, only job I could get was working at sales. So it was devastating. And. I kind of really pushed myself away from a military community. I didn’t get involved in anything. I didn’t have any friends in the military community.
[00:01:54] Michelle Lang: I only associated with civilians. And it was really, really [00:02:00] lonely. But then we relocated down to Fort Benning. Things changed really quickly for us. My husband had to leave the military quickly. He basically had a choice. Like if you continue your career it might not work out the way that you wanted to.
[00:02:19] Michelle Lang: And you just spent three years in the desert without seeing your family for nothing. Or you can leave the military. Go reserve have time with your family. So that’s what he did. He had very little time to transition out. And we thought we had a handle on everything. He went to the taps program, all that good stuff.
[00:02:41] Michelle Lang: He had plan a plan B plan C, got a job, moved back to Pennsylvania where we’re from and things really, really just started falling apart for us. So. He kind of found himself grieving his service like shedding, who he was and figuring out who [00:03:00] he is now. And I didn’t quite understand that I understood that it would be a big change, but it really, really took a toll on his mental health and our marriage crumbled.
[00:03:11] Michelle Lang: Totally. We. Lived as separate people. We didn’t speak to each other when we did, it was a fight. It was really, really bad. So I started working on my mental health to try and get through this cause I’m very, very stubborn and I wanted to save my marriage. And during all this, he was in the reserves.
[00:03:32] Michelle Lang: So he actually took company to command during that to try and, step back into that role. As a soldier, he even signed up for a deployment without telling me, he literally told me as we were going down the road one. Oh, Hey, whenever I deploy I’m like what are you talking about? So anyway, we started going to counseling and it got much better, but that was all.
[00:03:58] Michelle Lang: After he was [00:04:00] denied care at the VA and couldn’t find help that he needed. And it was just, it was heartbreaking to see, and it was frustrating for me because I’m trying to find these resources and I couldn’t figure out where to go. We lived in a fairly large city and I still couldn’t find resources for him.
[00:04:18] Michelle Lang: So it wasn’t until he plugged back into the veteran community where he was able to get the help that he needed. and I thought, well, that’s awesome, but why weren’t we able to find that ourselves? Like we just went down this huge, like our marriage almost disintegrated, like sure. Why couldn’t we, why do we need to get to this point before we could find the help that we needed?
[00:04:44] Michelle Lang: And then once we found the help we needed, we found that there’s all these other resources out there they’re just really hard to search for because the VA dominates the search engines or these larger organizations do. So he deployed, I had a lot of time to think about this stuff [00:05:00] and I did some more research and so I decided.
[00:05:05] Michelle Lang: I don’t want somebody else to go through this because it’s such a simple solution in theory to put all these resources together, to be able to help people, give them a peace of mind. I’m just gonna, I gotta do it because no more. I talk to people, the more I realized they had the same story that we did.
[00:05:26] Michelle Lang: Yeah. But people don’t wanna talk about that.
[00:05:29] Scott DeLuzio: right. And that’s a difficult thing is when nobody talks about it, you start to think, well, everyone else must have everything under control because they’re not complaining about this. So I must be the problem. I must be the one who’s screwing up somewhere along the line, but that’s not true at all.
[00:05:46] Scott DeLuzio: You had a very similar experience to what a lot of people have when they can’t figure. What resources or what benefits are available, even if you go through all the different programs that they [00:06:00] offer to you, as you’re getting out, sometimes it’s like drinking from a fire hose where they’re just sending so much stuff to you at the same time.
[00:06:06] Scott DeLuzio: It’s like, okay. Yeah, that’s great that that exists. But I don’t see how that applies to me right now. So I’m gonna just kind of forget about it and not really think about it. Then a few months later you’re like, oh crap, what was that thing? And now I don’t remember what it was. And. Now where do I find it?
[00:06:22] Scott DeLuzio: And exactly. And, they hand you all these pamphlets and brochures. Most of them end up in the trash, probably because again, you don’t think you’re ever gonna need it, then you’re scrambling to figure it out when you get to that point. So I feel like a resource like this is long overdue where resources that are available to the veteran community.
[00:06:45] Scott DeLuzio: Is easily searchable. There’s a database that’s available and we can just go and look up what it is that we need in the area that we’re in and figure out how to solve the problems that we’re having. And not end up in a situation [00:07:00] where like you your marriage was in trouble. And fortunately you were as stubborn as you were, and you didn’t allow that to totally collapse, but you know, not everyone is.
[00:07:11] Scott DeLuzio: It has that same mindset and is willing to put in that kind of effort a hundred percent of the time. And so, it’s hard to have all of that going on and also trying to figure out your marriage and your family life and everything else that goes with just being an adult.
[00:07:29] Scott DeLuzio: Right. right. Yeah. So, yeah.
[00:07:34] Michelle Lang: It’s very much like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Like, so, if you have shelter in place, but you still need all these other things to be able to function as a human being. And whenever you’re trying to scramble, like whenever you’re in survival mode, that’s really what it is.
[00:07:47] Michelle Lang: Like you’re in survival mode, cuz you’re trying to survive your marriage. You’re trying to survive the next day. And a lot of people don’t wanna talk about it too, because they feel like, oh, I don’t have a reason to feel this way. I don’t have, I didn’t see [00:08:00] combat or what I did see wasn’t that bad, but there’s still a lot of other things that can affect like shedding your identity and starting something new.
[00:08:08] Michelle Lang: So yeah, there’s no shame in struggling or needing something or even if you’re not struggling and you just want a better job there’s ways to go about it. And you don’t realize what you need until you need.
[00:08:20] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. And that’s, I think the biggest problem with a lot of these transition classes and everything else that they, the military offers is you don’t see how some of this stuff applies to you until you need it.
[00:08:35] Scott DeLuzio: Mm-hmm when you’re going through that transition, it’s like, okay, I’m just gonna check this box and say, I went to this course because they’re telling me I have to, okay, cool. Check the box. Move on now. Fast forward, you’re out of the military and you need this, these resources and you wish you did more than just check the box and you have those resources available to you.
[00:08:57] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and it has to be [00:09:00] pretty demoralizing when it. You’re in your family’s position in your husband’s shoes. When you’re told that certain organizations are gonna be able to help out, whether it’s a VA or other organizations to get the help that he needed. And just to find out that help wasn’t available the way he thought it was.
[00:09:17] Michelle Lang: Exactly. That was a huge Catalyst to his mental health is the first getting denied by the VA. Yeah. Because what he got denied for was mental health services. And he’s like, this is the organization that’s supposed to help me. This is like, at that point he was, he had served not nine years, eight and a half years in the army.
[00:09:39] Michelle Lang: He understood that the, the Army is never gonna love you as much as you love it. But I still put my time in, I still want help. And he was asking for help. And they said, no, See ya, but it’s not, it is very frustrating. I think the VA has great services, but it’s very [00:10:00] dependent on, who works there and who’s passionate about their job and whatnot.
[00:10:03] Michelle Lang: So, it just can be really demoralizing whenever something like that happens from an. Organization that’s
[00:10:14] Scott DeLuzio: meant to serve the veterans well. And just to put into perspective for maybe the civilians who might be listening to this, who maybe don’t have the frame of reference with what the VA should be able to do or whatever. But if you’re. In your home and your home catches fire and you call the fire department and you’re standing out on the sidewalk watching your home burn, and they say, sorry, we’re not gonna be able to send anyone to come help, put the flames out.
[00:10:35] Scott DeLuzio: And you’re looking at your home, your, all the memories, all the, everything that you own going up and smoke. That’s probably very similar to the type of feeling that you would have. It’s like now it’s pretty helpless. Like exactly what am I gonna do? How. Grab a garden hose and start trying to put the flat fire out.
[00:10:54] Scott DeLuzio: Like, no, they’re like, that’s not gonna work. And maybe you’re gonna put a little bit of a fire out, but it’s not gonna [00:11:00] put the whole flames out and it’s not gonna save your house. So, when you’re in that situation, like your husband was, and he was. Just reaching out, asking for pretty basic help.
[00:11:13] Scott DeLuzio: I would imagine as far as the VA is concerned mental health services is something that they provide all the time. I mean, I’ve used the, their services as well. And I wasn’t even in the army for as long as your husband was and I still was able to use those services to me, it just doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t be able to use those services.
[00:11:36] Scott DeLuzio: and it, to me, it makes just about as much sense as the fire department saying, sorry. No, we can’t make it for whatever reason. It’s like, that just blows my mind that mm-hmm that that’s something that would’ve even taken place. However If it’s happened to one person, I gotta imagine it’s happened to other people as well.
[00:11:54] Scott DeLuzio: Right? Yeah. And I
[00:11:55] Michelle Lang: talk to a lot of people that does happen to even people that have, been in the game a lot [00:12:00] longer. I talked to somebody else at a, at an event that shared his story with me about how he, they didn’t know that they could go outside the VA for care because now, there’s community care and things like that because the VA is a little.
[00:12:14] Michelle Lang: A lot of bit overwhelmed. So they’ve extended their network to community care providers. Right. So that’s great, but people don’t know that. So they think they’re stuck with their doctor and the VA. And if it doesn’t matter, if it is the VA or if it’s a family doctor somewhere else, You can have a bad experience wherever you go, but you need to understand that you have a right to choose, where you wanna receive care or change providers.
[00:12:41] Michelle Lang: If you’re not feeling that provider’s listening to you because you deserve to be heard as a patient. But you also wanna go somewhere where they have experience working with veterans and the type of care that requires because not everybody’s been through those challenges and sometimes. The provider needs to be [00:13:00] in a certain frame of mind and understand things from the veteran’s perspective.
[00:13:04] Michelle Lang: So that’s another thing is we’re trying to educate on is you’re not stuck within that system. There’s all these organizations and resources out there that are good, that can provide the same level of care for you. And you even have more options. In some cases then within the system that you feel like you’re confined to, especially if you feel like you’re not getting heard or the care that you need.
[00:13:31] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And an example of what you’re talking about with the community care for the people who are unaware, that community care program even exists. A few months ago, I I had to get scheduled to do a sleep study through the VA and. They called me up and said it, it was gonna be about four or five months before they could schedule me for the sleep study through the VA.
[00:13:54] Scott DeLuzio: And they said, instead, we’d like to get you in at a local provider who can do the sleep study much sooner [00:14:00] and get you in and get that done. And so. So I did that, it went to the local provider. It was actually closer to my house than the VA facility that I would’ve gone to anyway.
[00:14:09] Scott DeLuzio: So it all worked out great for me. Zero out of pocket costs for me and it all was covered through the VA, so it’s definitely something that’s available. And again, if people don’t know that that exists and it’s not just for things like sleep studies it’s for all sorts. Care that the VA offers.
[00:14:27] Scott DeLuzio: And so if people don’t know that that exists they’re not gonna be as likely to take advantage of those services that are available out there. And so, I’m glad that there’s people like you out there who are raising awareness for these other resources. You can go outside of the VA. You can go to a private provider.
[00:14:47] Scott DeLuzio: And a lot of times they’re nonprofits who are doing these things at lower, no cost to the veteran and. Like, why wouldn’t you take advantage of what’s available out there. Right, right. Yeah.
[00:14:59] Michelle Lang: [00:15:00] Cause a lot of times the people that start the nonprofits are because they have been in that situation to begin with and they, felt led to start an organization, to help other people to prevent that because it is tough to do.
[00:15:13] Michelle Lang: It’s tough that, I mean, nonprofits have a lifespan of about a year, so I mean, it’s tough. To do, and it’s tough to market yourself and that’s some of what we wanna do at better health point too, is we really wanna build a community of resources where the resources themselves are in this vision with us.
[00:15:35] Michelle Lang: And can see how this is useful and we can drive clients to them and, they can serve the clients that need to be served and the clients are receiving the help they need to receive because a lot of these nonprofits, or even for-profit organizations that are started by veterans or military spouses are really passionate about helping and doing the right thing and their hearts are in the right place, but maybe marketing isn’t at the forefront of their mind.[00:16:00]
[00:16:00] Michelle Lang: It’s tough to do. Especially in like today’s techno I totally understand why people need like our social media managers full time, because it is so much work
[00:16:10] Scott DeLuzio: to market. It is, it’s so much work, not even just to. Post the content on social media keeping that fresh and updated daily or whatever time period that you’re talking about.
[00:16:19] Scott DeLuzio: But then you’re talking about other things to that you’re competing with when you have online ads and you’re maybe trying to spend a little money to get some traffic coming your way to your website or whatever. Mm-hmm . There’s competition for that as well. You gotta know what you’re doing.
[00:16:33] Scott DeLuzio: Otherwise, you’re just blowing money. If your website isn’t set up the right way, you’re gonna end up losing traffic just because you aren’t getting picked up by the search engines when people are looking for the types of things and there’s so much to it. And there’s so many different moving pieces.
[00:16:49] Scott DeLuzio: You’re right. You do need somebody who knows that kind of stuff too. Take care of it because you’re trying to do the thing that you’re good at and that, getting these resources together, vetting [00:17:00] the resources, making sure that they’re appropriate for the veterans who are looking for them.
[00:17:05] Scott DeLuzio: But then you also have to put on the marketing hat and that’s just a lot of stuff, but. When you go and hire somebody to do that costs money and right. And nonprofits, especially they need funding that it’s not like you have a big list of products that you’re selling or anything. And so there’s donations and things like that that you need help with in order to continue running the operation successfully.
[00:17:30] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s why, like you said, nonprofits they don’t have a very long lifespan because mm-hmm, . Because they sometimes fall off on one of those areas either they’re not providing a great service or they’re not able to market their themselves, and they can have the best service in the world.
[00:17:45] Scott DeLuzio: But if no one knows about it, it’s not really worth all that much. Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So you have a line on your website and I absolutely love it. The way you phrase it and. You said with regards [00:18:00] to the things that a lot of the veterans are going through, it says I can promise that you are not doing this alone.
[00:18:06] Scott DeLuzio: And that is so true. It’s absolutely true. I’ve interviewed dozens of people from organizations across the country who are working hard to help veterans. And one of the biggest issues that they all face is just what we were just talking about is that generating awareness and letting the veterans and their families know that they exist and are ready to help out.
[00:18:29] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s why I love what you’re doing with Veteran Help Point, because it’s one central location that you have all these resources that can help veterans who may not have otherwise known that some of these resources even exist. So. I’d love to talk a little bit more about the types of resources that you’re looking for and that people can find through Veterans Help Point mm-hmm
[00:18:52] Michelle Lang: So we have 10 categories of help right now. And I get really passionate talking about it because. Right [00:19:00] now it’s 10 categories and it’s for primary vet veteran, sorry, primarily veterans. But eventually, I wanna have it subsection where it can be for veteran spouses, military spouses, caregivers and military children, because they all have their own unique challenges and their own resources they need.
[00:19:21] Michelle Lang: So what we’re trying to do is make it, like, in my case, I was the one searching for help and a lot of the times it is going to be the partner, the spouse that is reaching out for help. So I wanna make it as easy as possible for even if you don’t have the terminology down, even if you don’t know exactly what you need is still simplified enough that you can find.
[00:19:41] Michelle Lang: The help that you need for your spouse. So the 10 categories of help right now are primary care, physical therapy, holistic therapy, legal benefits financial aid and literacy job assistance, housing fitness. And what else am I missing? Oh, [00:20:00] I have it up right here. There’s always one that escapes me.
[00:20:08] Scott DeLuzio: It’s a big list to mental health. I was gonna say I’m pretty sure you didn’t mention mental health and I was gonna say that, but yeah, it, it’s a big list and there’s a lot of different organizations and that fit in all those different categories. So it’s great that you’re putting that together, but I guess the goal for all of this is to have this one central resource.
[00:20:27] Scott DeLuzio: So, like, like any nonprofit, I’m sure you have, these have needs in terms of volunteers to help curate this list and donations, like we talked about before. What sort of things are you specifically looking for at the moment? And where can people go to help? Veteran Help Point.
[00:20:44] Michelle Lang: Yeah, a really easy way to volunteer with us is to just submit resources.
[00:20:49] Michelle Lang: And I do have a bit of a template and a way to search for these resources because once you get in the groove and in the mindset of how to search for the resources, it’s [00:21:00] really simple to do. And then there’s a whole other process of vetting them, but finding them first is key. So. I’m well, I call it maternity leave.
[00:21:12] Michelle Lang: I’m gonna go on maternity leave. mid August. So I’m pregnant with my third boy. So my goal is to have somebody come on for head of resource development. And what they’ll do is kind of be in charge of scouring at least the Southeast region, cuz that’s what we’re working on now. For these resources.
[00:21:35] Michelle Lang: And listing them, organizing them onto our offline database and then going ahead and vetting them. So it’s a time consuming project, but it can go very quickly once you. Once you’re in the groove, if you’re not in the right mindset, it can take a little bit longer, but sure. That’s one of the biggest things that we need help [00:22:00] with.
[00:22:00] Michelle Lang: I’m I have my spreadsheet in front of me, cuz it’s just daunting, but organizing is one of the biggest. Biggest things because not only do we have to put them on our external spreadsheet, then we have to reach out and vet these companies. And we are gonna have different phases of vetting the companies as far as like what I call like lightly vetting.
[00:22:20] Michelle Lang: And then a little bit deeper dive because. Then we’re gonna have tiers of resources. So there’s a lot of thought that’s going into this. I do wanna make it like our tagline is we do the recon, so you don’t have to, I wanna make it so you, you can come here and that resource that you’re gonna click on is somebody that.
[00:22:40] Michelle Lang: Can help you, that’s gonna pick up their phone. You don’t have to question that and you don’t have to worry about a predatory company, cuz there, there are a lot of predatory veteran companies out there and that’s just something we’re not okay with and will not be tolerated.
[00:22:57] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:22:58] Scott DeLuzio: And it’s hard to [00:23:00] know just on the surface, if there’s a company that’s going to be predatory, whether they’re assisting you with benefits or mental health or whatever is whatever the company is offering. If you’re not familiar with the company, you don’t have somebody who has used them in the past or somehow vetted them in the past.
[00:23:22] Scott DeLuzio: You don’t really know what you’re gonna get until. You’re already in it. And then at some point it might be too late and now you’re stuck in a position where you feel like you’re literally stuck and you can’t get out of this situation. You’ve invested too much time or money or what other resources into whatever it is that they’re offering.
[00:23:41] Scott DeLuzio: And that. Might not be okay with you. And so, I love that you not only are listing the resources, but they’re trusted resources. They’re vetted to make sure that they’re not the, these predatory companies that they’re not some fly by night operation that’s just gonna be here today, gone tomorrow.
[00:23:59] Scott DeLuzio: And who [00:24:00] knows if anyone’s gonna pick up the phone? Mm-hmm and, I. Commented before about how demoralizing it can be when an organization that you thought was going to be able to help turns out, to not be able to help at all. And if you are vetting these organizations, that these organizations are gonna be able to help.
[00:24:18] Scott DeLuzio: But I’d love to know a little bit more about the vetting process that, that goes into it. Like, what is it that, that you guys do to make sure that these organizations are legit and that they’re not going to be predatory and things like.
[00:24:30] Michelle Lang: I ideally like to start with just a conversation.
[00:24:34] Michelle Lang: So we have a lot to go through. I mean, there’s. Tons. I’m just looking at Florida right now. Things that aren’t even listed on our website and there’s tons and tons of people. So I start with an email. I start by checking out their website, checking out what, doing my research as if I were the consumer first.
[00:24:54] Michelle Lang: Okay. So that’s part of our lightly. Vetting phase second phase is we need to reach out to [00:25:00] the person. We need to make contact with them. Get a little bit more information about what they’re doing. I like to know why they started it or why they took over. And then whenever we have different levels, so.
[00:25:15] Michelle Lang: I haven’t quite structured it the way, I figured out the structure yet, but we’ll have premier resources too, so, okay. Like this resource is one that I know 100% I’ve built trust because a lot of it is building trust with that other organization. We’ve had many conversations. We have.
[00:25:33] Michelle Lang: Their financials checkout, they’ve been in operation for, more than three years, whatever. Those will be more like our premier resources where. Definitely you are going to get the help that, that you need to get. Once you go there. Sometimes it’s just gonna take time. I know, starting out as a new nonprofit people, it took a while for people to build trust in me.
[00:25:56] Michelle Lang: And I got told no a lot. We only started in November, [00:26:00] so it’s fair. To wanna see how an organization does before you list them or you can recommend them as, a top tier. Organization, and then we’re also gonna have, sorry I have somebody that’s redesigning our website and I’m really, really excited about it.
[00:26:19] Michelle Lang: So one of the features that he’s going to put on there is you’re gonna be, it’s like an Angie’s list. So if you use that service, you’ll be able to rate and review that service for other people to see too. So, they’ll be getting. You don’t have to be logged in to see what the rate and review is, but you need to log in to rate and review to make sure and confirm that you have used that service.
[00:26:42] Michelle Lang: So that’s something else I’m excited about because I, shop on Amazon all the time. I go by reviews. Everybody goes by reviews. Now it’s 2022. So I wanna make sure that people have the opportunity to Build trust in that nonprofit or that organization based on somebody [00:27:00] else’s experience.
[00:27:02] Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. And the that social trust when you have the review and someone puts their experience out there giving it a five star review or whatever, applicable stars and writing down what their experience was like. It helps to. Build that trust that yes, not only does Veteran Help Point say this is a vetted resource, it’s a trusted resource, but Joe Smith from, Omaha says, yeah, this is a vetted resource.
[00:27:37] Scott DeLuzio: And I had an incredible experience. Right. And then you could say, okay I trust this just a little bit more. And Knowing that you’re not gonna be let down by this organization and what they are offering. So, so that’s great. I love the vetting of these resources. I love the fact that they’re local resources too.
[00:27:56] Scott DeLuzio: A lot of them are in your backyard, in, in your neighborhoods, [00:28:00] whatever it’s nearby. So that way you’re not just becoming another. Another name or number or whatever in a huge national database of people. And yeah you can have that local connection with people too. And that I think helps out a whole lot more than than just being thrown out into the random.
[00:28:22] Scott DeLuzio: Big organization that may or may not be exactly what you’re looking for.
[00:28:27] Michelle Lang: Right, right. Yeah. And I keep in mind, like I’m from a rural area in Pennsylvania where, I mean, we’re smack in the middle. We’re three hours from Pittsburgh and three and a half hours to Philadelphia. And. Three hours to Baltimore.
[00:28:41] Michelle Lang: So like there’s nothing around us. Okay. So the people that have to go to the VA have to travel over an hour to go to that VA. And a lot of times they let their care slip. They don’t realize they have to go for their checkup every 18 months to maintain their status. There’s just a [00:29:00] lot of things that slip through the cracks whenever you’re part of rural America.
[00:29:03] Michelle Lang: And a lot of our military comes from rural America. And I want to make sure that because. In my backyard at home, even though we are in the country, there’s still people that serve veterans. And we come from an area where there are a lot of veterans. So I wanna make sure that people know that they can go and utilize these things that they might not know about before and also their family.
[00:29:32] Michelle Lang: Cuz I get a lot of, I don’t know, I think I’ve had probably. less than 25% people that reach out to me are veterans. Everyone else is a spouse family member or a coworker. So that is the biggest thing is getting this out to. Civilians and the public to get them to understand like there’s resources out there that you can give to your family to help.
[00:29:58] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. And [00:30:00] just like you said, with your family situation, you were the one who was doing the legwork of looking for the resources that were available to help your husband in his transition and his mental health and everything else that your family was going through the counseling and all that.
[00:30:18] Scott DeLuzio: And so that was, that fell on you. And a lot of times I know veterans that I’ve talked to myself included were stubborn and like, no, I, I can handle this. I can deal with this. I’ll be fine. I don’t need to go get help. And so we don’t necessarily take the time to go and do that leg. Whereas a spouse or another loved one or coworker or neighbor, some, someone like that would be much more inclined because they can see from the outside looking in yeah.
[00:30:49] Scott DeLuzio: The deterioration that takes place and seeing just how dire the situation could be. And oftentimes we, we get it in our own way and [00:31:00] we don’t allow ourselves to go and find that.
[00:31:03] Michelle Lang: Exactly. That’s a huge part of it. Whenever you’re in that state. My husband and I still have this conversation, like whenever he was in that state, we saw two totally different realities.
[00:31:13] Michelle Lang: I could say one thing to him and he would take it as me attacking him. And I hated him and whatever. And I’m like, I just asked you if you could put your dish in the sink, like, but what to him. He was on edge. He was seeing a reality where the world was against him and he had no one, it was just him.
[00:31:33] Michelle Lang: And I was seeing a reality where like, I wanna help you, but you’re sort of unlovable right now and it’s hard to help. And that’s what it is whenever you’re in. I’ve been in that state too, where it is just like, I feel unlovable, I’m depressed. I don’t want help. But luckily you have family that can see that and try and get you the help that you need.
[00:31:56] Michelle Lang: Because whenever you’re in that. your mind [00:32:00] just shuts off to logic. I feel like it’s, that’s the best way I can think to explain it right now. You might know that you need help, but you’re just, I call it your lizard brain. Like your lizard brain is just trying to survive at base minimum. Like you are barely eating, maybe barely drinking water, but you are sleeping and getting up and going to work.
[00:32:22] Michelle Lang: That’s what you’re doing surviving
[00:32:25] Scott DeLuzio: just, and that’s not a way a path to thriving. That’s literally surviving.
[00:32:31] Michelle Lang: Yeah. And it takes a toll on your whole family. That’s I that’s what we’re really trying to do is just give families back. That time together and that peace of mind, because that’s what I wish.
[00:32:43] Michelle Lang: I, I didn’t have anybody to relate to. I didn’t have anybody that I could talk to about this. I, nobody I knew in my life even really lived with somebody with depression like that. So it was really, really, I said, I wish I had a support group for. [00:33:00] people that had spouses with depression or that were depressed because I did not know how to navigate my own life.
[00:33:07] Michelle Lang: Mm-hmm with that. And I just, there are so many ways for families to avoid that or to get help or just feel less alone. I felt so alone and so stupid that, I was. 28 and I was having a failed marriage because we just couldn’t make it work at that point. So that’s what I really, really want people to know is no matter what you’re going through, somebody else has gone through it.
[00:33:35] Michelle Lang: You’re not alone. You’re not stupid for going through it. And it has nothing to do with you. It’s just the cards that you’re dealt. And sometimes we have to figure out how to play the best hand.
[00:33:46] Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. And when you’re in a situation, One of the people in the relationship, spouse or whatever is in that situation where they’re depressed and they’re having these angry outbursts [00:34:00] and things.
[00:34:00] Scott DeLuzio: It affects the rest of the family. It could cause. The other people in the relationship to have their own mental health deteriorate and not be where it should be. And that just makes it that much harder for the two of them to be able to help each other out. And so. I love it, that you have these resources that are now that they’re available.
[00:34:25] Scott DeLuzio: They’ve been available, but now they’re available in one central location through Veteran Help Point. And it’s. Really about awareness. So I’m encouraging the listeners to first off, check out better and help point use the resources that you could find there donate whatever you can in terms of dollars or volunteer hours or whatever it is that you can offer.
[00:34:48] Scott DeLuzio: And Before we wrap this up. I wanted to give you the opportunity to tell people where they can go to find this resource and follow you either social media all the stuff that people can [00:35:00] use to to kind of follow along and see. What you guys are up to. Yeah.
[00:35:05] Michelle Lang: So our website is Veteran Help Point.com and I’m very excited because it’s just getting a total transformation facelift here by.
[00:35:16] Michelle Lang: This amazing godsend of a volunteer that loves to design websites, he’s doing it for us. So that should be up shortly. And we’re on just about every social media platform we’re really accessible by message on Facebook at Veteran Help Point Instagram Veteran Help Point LinkedIn Veteran Help Point.
[00:35:39] Michelle Lang: We even have a Twitter vet help point, like we’re just trying to be everywhere. So that way people can, you don’t have to remember the resource, but you just have to remember Veteran Help Point reach out and we’ll get you there.
[00:35:52] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And I will have links to all of this in the show notes. So anyone who is interested in utilizing any of the services or [00:36:00] helping out and contributing to better help point please.
[00:36:03] Scott DeLuzio: Take a look at the show notes, click through on the links and get connected with Michelle and the rest of the team over there at Veteran Help Point. So, Michelle, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today. I really appreciate. The time that you’ve taken to come on and all the work that you’re doing to help out the veteran community and the military spouses and everyone else who is involved in this community.
[00:36:25] Scott DeLuzio: It’s really a truly, a great effort that you’re putting in and a great resource that you’re putting together.
[00:36:31] Michelle Lang: Thank you. Yeah. I just want, I’m trying to give a holistic approach so people know that they’re just not alone. So if you need help reach out I’ll point. I don’t know everything, but I know a guy who knows a guy, so I’ll get you there.
[00:36:44] Scott DeLuzio: That’s awesome. Well, thank you again. And and we’re looking forward to seeing the great things that you have to come in the future.
[00:36:50] Michelle Lang: Awesome. Well, thank you so much.
[00:36:52] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website [00:37:00] DriveOnPodcast.com We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.