WEST BEND, Wis.— Podcast created by veterans for veterans hopes to save lives.
The Stigma Free Vet Zone Podcast began in early 2020 just before COVID-19 hit. It’s run out of a studio in West Bend by Michael Orban, a Vietnam Veteran. Orban uses his life experiences to help facilitate tough one on one conversations he hopes other veterans connect with.
In the studio, it’s lights, audio, action to get this Stigma Free Vet Zone podcast rolling. The podcast features topics about veterans and their families.
“We can reach them better by going to them and the best way to do that is the podcast,” Stigma Free Podcast Zone Host, Michael Orban says.
Orban, a Vietnam veteran who helps lead the deep discussions on topics like suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and much more.
“I finally started accepting that boy I have a problem and I do need help. Once that started it went onwards through my journey,” Podcast Guest, Joe Campbell says.
Orban shares his own stories and experiences and does his best to connect and relate with those sharing their stories and those listening on the other end once the podcast airs. They speak about very deep issues but very real issues many people are dealing with.
“We know that veterans who are struggling are not going to workshops, they are not going to seminars they are isolating and staying home, they don’t want anyone to know they are struggling,” Orban says.
The veterans and their families who are listening mat be struggling with similar battles he faced after coming home from the war. He says this helps him facilitate these in-depth conversations.
“We believe that we can effectively do something to change these numbers of suicide that are constantly remaining at 22 or 21 veterans a day. I don’t like numbers, I don’t like pie charts, I don’t like graphs, I want to do something that actually changes and I think this will do it,” Orban says.,
The purpose is to share veterans' stories and struggles for both them and their families as they navigate stigmas and coming home from war in hopes of connecting with someone who may be really struggling.
“There are many of us who have experienced these reactions who are here to tell you there is hope. It’s more important to not worry what the world thinks of your but to set a goal of being happy by yourself in a room when no one else is around,” Orban says.
For more information on the Stimga Free Vet Zone podcast, click here.