BTU #58 – Duane France: Army NCO to Thought Leader on Veterans Mental Health

“There is still maybe a stigma in the community. There’s an idea that veterans are viewed in one of three ways. They’re either a victim, this broken winged bird that needs to be nursed back to life. Or they’re a villain, they’re this crazy combat vet who is about to explode at any moment. Or they’re seen as some sort of mythic hero. And none of those are true. No veteran I’ve ever known wants to be treated like a victim. Being labeled a villain could make them more aggressive. and most will resist being called a hero. And so there are these archetypes that the community sees, but in reality we’re really a combination of all of them.”
– Duane France

Duane France serves as the Program Director for the Colorado Veteran Health and Wellness Agency, as well as the Director of Veteran Services for the Family Care Center, and also as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. He started out as a Noncommissioned officer in the Army, where he served for 22 years with five combat and operational deployments. Since leaving the Army he has established himself as a Veteran Mental Health Thought Leader, being listed by LinkedIn as one of the top five most influential veterans on LinkedIn. You can find him online at his website www.veteranmentalhealth.com and on Twitter as ThCounselingVet

The top two reasons to listen to today’s episode

  1. Responsibility – Duane has devoted his career to helping veterans and established himself as a Veteran Mental Health Thought Leader. In this episode he talks about the main problems addressing the veteran community. You may think this doesn’t apply to you, but if not it definitely affects some of the people you served with. Duane has great advice that would be helpful to anyone who served in the military
  2. Counselor – Duane retired in the military and then approached his second career as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. If you’re interested in this industry, he’s a great role model to follow.

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Show Notes

  • 2:00 – Duane’s background
  • 2:56 – Duane’s decision to leave the Army
  • 5:46 – What drew Duane to the mental health profession
  • 9:05 – The different capacities in which Duane currently serves
  • 10:46 – The day-to-day life of Duane’s work in the mental health industry
  • 13:40 – The most helpful way that Duane prepared for his career, and advice to other veterans looking to enter the mental health profession
  • 17:24 – A story from Duane’s life of the “paradox of the veteran’s story”
  • 22:17 – Advice for veterans in becoming more comfortable talking about their experience in the military
  • 23:50 – What stands in the way of realizing that one single thing poses the majority of problems in the veteran community
  • 26:33 – Some of the biggest challenges facing veterans today
  • 45:13 – Advice on how veterans may uncover a new purpose after their military service
  • 49:50 – Resources that Duane would recommend to any veteran listening
  • 56:25 – Final words of wisdom