Prescribing Veteran Suicides: An Epidemic
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American Grit Podcast w/ Derek Blumke

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March 5, 2024
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This is the single most important podcast we will ever produce, we're tackling the elephant in the room with host Tim Jensen who is joined by U.S. Air Force Veteran, Derek  Blumke, co-founder of Student Veterans of America and Veteran Fellow of the Grunt Style Foundation.

Addressing the Epidemic of Veteran Suicides: This episode highlights the risks of excessive prescription practices, and advocates for a transformative strategy to restore the well-being of our veteran community. This episode is a war cry for change that challenges the status quo and lights the path to a brighter future for our veterans.


In our pursuit of supporting the mental health of military veterans, it has become increasingly evident that the overprescription of antidepressants, benzodiazepines and antipsychotic drugs to our Nation’s veterans has been causing harm, while safer solutions exist. Grunt Style Foundation aims to address this issue head-on through the launch of its latest initiative: The War Cry for Change: A Revolution to Reclaim Veteran Mental Health. Submit your story today.

About Our Guest

Follow Derek on X & Youtube: @derekblumke

Derek Blumke is the Grunt Style Foundation’s Veteran Impact Fellow. Derek is an advocate, writer and public speaker. His work focuses on reforming prescribing practices at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; ending the epidemic of overprescribing in the United States, specifically to those who wear and wore the uniform of our Armed Forces; and towards restructuring mental health programming and delivery for all Americans.

In 2008, Derek co-founded Student Veterans of America (SVA) while he was a student at the University of Michigan. During his time with SVA, he served as the organization’s President and Executive Director, and led the SVA’s efforts to help pass the Post 9/11 GI Bill through Congress. Today SVA hosts more than 1,600 chapters globally.

Derek served as the founding director of the Department of Veterans Affairs national mental health program, The VITAL Initiative; was a founding committee member of the National Action Alliance on Suicide Prevention; was the Editor of Veterans and Military Families for the mental health education website, Mad in America; was a startup technology entrepreneur; and most recently Derek served as the chief operations and financial officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Michigan.

Derek served 12 years in the United States Air Force and Michigan Air National Guard. He deployed three times with the AC-130H Spectre Gunships, as part of the 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida. This included two deployments to Karshi-Khanabad Airbase, Uzbekistan, where the Department of Defense knowingly exposed more than 15,000 troops to radiation and chemical weapons left over from the Soviets in the 1990s.

For his work, Derek has received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, and was recognized at the White House by President Barack Obama for his leadership in supporting returning military veterans.

Derek now chairs the Psychotropic Safety Subgroup of Michigan’s Governors Challenge. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is writing his memoir, as he pursues his MFA in creative nonfiction writing at Alma College.

About the American Grit Podcast

American Grit hosts tough and often avoided conversations with people of influence that look to illuminate our listeners by sharing information that directly impacts the Grunt Style Culture. Our guests come from all walks of life: Military Veterans, Law Enforcement, First Responders,Veteran Entrepreneurs, Former DOD Chief of Staff’s, Skilled shooters , Professional wrestlers, Hall of Fame Martial Artist, Blue collar professionals and everyone in between

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