JJ Pugsley has Bachelors and Masters degrees in psychology and while he originally was looking for a broad degree that could help in a post-Navy career, now he’s driven by the people he met during his deployment.
“I started in a unit in the military training dolphins and sea lions, and I was really good at it. I wanted an animal training career when I got out of the military. Some of the civilian techs who were helping us out were telling me psychology degrees are good for that kind of training,” he said. “Seeing a bunch of really good friends of mine in the military go through TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) furthered my interest in psychology from a human perspective, so I started going to school for it.”
JJ is currently pursuing a doctorate in neuropsychology to offer support that many veterans are not getting.
“With the benefit of being able to understand what was going on with friends of mine that had severe psychological trauma from combat, I decided to pursue a doctorate so that eventually I can open my own clinic. I want to open a non-profit, privately funded, donation funded clinic to treat veterans with PTSD for free as an alternative to the VA. The VA is laughably inconsistent in their care. It takes on average 30 days to get an appointment right now. 22 veterans a day commit suicide. It’s ridiculous.”
Taking care of people who served is something that needs to happen. JJ is out there taking it into his own hands.