U.S. Army, Retired
U.S. Army, Retired
Justin Miller is the co-founder of the Objective Zero Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 that contributes to local, state, and national efforts to prevent suicide by enhancing social connectedness and access to suicide prevention resources. Along with veteran, friend, and co-founder Chris Mercado, Justin and Chris created a mission-driven tech start-up, a free Objective Zero App, that connects service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers to suicide prevention support and resources. “We believe veteran suicide can be prevented through the simple act of listening.” (Chris Mercado)
Justin’s story is the inspiration behind Objective Zero. Originally from Wheeling, West Virginia, Justin enlisted as an infantryman in the U.S. Army in April of 2003 and served for 11 years, deploying twice to Iraq. He served as a rifleman with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment; as an infantry scout and sniper team leader with the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment; and as an infantry squad leader with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Justin also served as a military recruiter in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
After leaving the military, Justin suffered severe PTS, and in a desperate and dark night of the soul, Chris reached out to Justin in his darkest hour. “My nonprofit, Objective Zero, was started after I almost took my own life. I felt like I had no one to talk to that would understand what I was going through at the time. Because of my darkest moment, we created an app to do just that.
Nearly a thousand people have signed up to lend a nonjudgmental ear and talk through the hard times with those who have dedicated their lives to this country. It is going to require a culture shift for us to see a difference. People need to quit feeling ashamed or embarrassed about their trauma. By not talking about our trauma, it gives that event power over you. The more we talk about these issues, the more people will feel open to asking for help and talking about their struggles. My hope is for more veterans to open up about the struggles they are dealing with day to day, so we can end the suicide epidemic.” (Justin Miller)
In addition to his work with Objective Zero, Justin testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in July 2019 on the topic of the long-term effects of childhood trauma and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in a special meeting Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Childhood Trauma: Pervasive Public Health Issue that Needs Greater Federal Attention. Please see the embedded video link for Justin’s testimony, which begins at marker 43:39. Justin has an Associate of Arts degree from Columbia Southern University.
C-PTS, Peer Support
& Objective Zero