Dr. Ruth Moore is a survivor of suicide, which she attempted after leaving the Navy in 1987 following assaults related to Military Sexual Trauma (MST). In her recovery, she earned her Ph.D. in Mind-Body Medicine from Saybrook University and now helps veterans and others dealing with trauma and other related issues. (Check out the special six-part series on MST here.)
Moore is this month’s guest on The American Legion’s Be the One podcast. Through this series, The American Legion aims to continue to raise awareness about its mission to reduce the rate of veteran suicide through Be the One. The series will be available at the Tango Alpha Lima web page. Subscribers to the main weekly podcast will automatically receive the monthly Be the One episodes.
After the suicide attempts, Moore got divorced and endured homelessness before heading back to school.
“When a veteran is in crisis, or even when a veteran is having difficulties, we encourage them to reach out to the VA if they are service-connected. Or if not, reach out to their Vet Centers,” she said, noting they specialize in post-traumatic stress disorder. “That’s actually the first place I felt safe in my own journey.”
(Learn more about Vet Centers services and their expansion in this episode.)
A member of American Legion Post 207 in Ellsworth, Maine, Moore has completed the Legion’s training for service officers. She has assisted veterans in her state with getting access to VA care and benefits.
Moore explained how serotonin and other chemicals affect our brains, emotions and wellness.
“We cannot get rid of stress if one foot is always on the brake and one foot is on the gas pedal,” she said. “When we work with veterans, we like to see where there neuro-chemistry is, where their hormones are, then we work with them, either by behavioral work or supplementation.”
Moore pointed out some commonalities among veterans who attempt suicide.
“They are tired and frustrated about being in constant pain. They feel like a burden to friends and family who don’t understand. They have no sense of value or worth.”
It becomes a vicious cycle, she said, adding that an unbalanced neuro chemistry can accentuate the issue.
“When we work with veterans, we try to balance the chemistry, without drugs, without medicine, trying to instill healthy habits and things they can do like change their diets,” she explained. “Believe it or not, the number one issue we have in the American diet that veterans are prone to are carbohydrate addictions. If we can take a lot of the big carbohydrates out, grains and sugars, then we see weight loss, the chronic pain goes away and the neuro chemistry is balanced.”
This episode is the third in the Be the One series. The others:
Part one: Marine Corps veteran Waco Hoover, who oversees the Be the One strategy, talks about its next phase. “We’re doing an extensive amount of research and also looking for suggestions from our community about who we should be aligned with,” he said. “We have to have a conversation about this issue, this topic.”
Part two: Air Force veteran Dr. Regan Stiegmann discusses how lifestyle medicine can play a role in the reduction of veterans who die by suicide.
There are more than 200 Tango Alpha Lima episodes for veterans, servicemembers and others. The next Be the One episode will drop Dec. 1. All episodes are available in both audio and video formats here as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.