When John Mayer isn’t focused on his musical career, he’s focused on his nonprofit that he started to help veterans with mental health issues.
Mayer shared with CBS News host Jamie Yuccas on “CBS Mornings” how he was conducting scientific studies on veterans’ mental health through his nonprofit Heart and Armor Foundation (HAF).
Founded in 2019, the HAF has funded scientific studies such as the impact military trauma can have on female veterans, female veterans’ preferences on treatments for eating disorders and the biology behind PTSD.
When asked by Yuccas if Mayer knew that he would be inspired to “do more in the world,” Mayer admitted he “didn’t want anything but for” himself.
“That’s OK,” Mayer added. “You can be young and want everything for you.”
When @JohnMayer isn’t making music, he is funding scientific studies on veterans’ mental health through his @heart_armor foundation.— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) December 5, 2023
He told @jamieyuccas why he wants to “put treating mental health in the same bucket as a lifesaving intervention in combat.” pic.twitter.com/Cq5CzeHw8W
“You just look around at some point and go, ‘Hey, this is good. What else now?'” Mayer said in response to Yuccas asking when his mindset changed.
Mayer launched his nonprofit with $3 million of his own money, and since then his foundation has raised money through various events, including a show with Ed Sheeran.
The money raised has gone towards 25 peer-reviewed scientific studies that have been published.
“It just means you wondering where this all came from is all over,” Mayer explained. “And, that’s a burden that I think we can help lift off of people. Someone saying that the smell of diesel fuel at the gas station triggers a very anxious response because it’s a sense memory from Iraq or Afghanistan. And that got me deeper and deeper into wanting to understand it.”
Mayer shared how he visited Marine Corps Base Camp Lejune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in 2008 where he met troops and heard stories that fueled his desire to make a difference.
The HAF seeks to reach veterans through the use of community outreach.
“After seeing just a lot of bodies, you know, people on fire, cars burning with people in them, in buses. A small-town boy from Mississippi, I wouldn’t have never thought I’d see something like this” veteran and former U.S. Army Sgt. Aundray Rogers shared with Yuccas.
Rogers, who has been helped and supported by HAF, explained he had dealt with and struggled with alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts after he returned from Iraq.
Roughly 41% of veterans are in need of mental health care support programs. The most common mental health issues that veterans deal with are PTSD, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, according to Mission Roll Call.
IJR reached out to Heart and Armor Foundation for a statement but did not receive a response by the time of publication.