The Brandon Act


After the tragic loss of their son Brandon to suicide, Teri and Patrick Caserta have devoted themselves to transforming military mental health care. Their efforts culminated in the creation of The Brandon Act, a vital law named in memory of their son. We are profoundly grateful to collaborate with Brandon’s parents in this crucial initiative.

Honoring Brandon Caserta: A Family's Mission

The Brandon Act: A Crucial Step Towards Mental Health Equity

For decades, American society has struggled with the stigma surrounding mental health. While we have made strides in treating mental health with the same urgency and respect as physical health, this progress has come at a high cost. Many lives have been lost to suicide, particularly among service members and veterans.

One Arizona family, the Casertas, knows all too well the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. Their son, Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Caserta, ended his life while serving in the U.S. Navy. Moved by their profound loss, grieving parents Teri and Patrick Caserta were driven to ensure that no other service member suffers as their son did. Their commitment led to the passage of The Brandon Act, which aims to provide service members with easier and more private access to mental health services.

“We all work together, and the bigger the coalition, the bigger change and difference we can make,” Patrick Caserta.

Understanding The Brandon Act

Signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 27, 2021, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, The Brandon Act is a legislative measure that allows service members to self-refer for mental health evaluations without needing to go through their chain of command. The passage of The Brandon Act marks a transformative step in how mental health concerns are addressed within the military for service members by eliminating barriers many face when seeking mental health support, including fear of stigma and retaliation.

The Brandon Act applies to all branches of the United States Armed Forces. It is designed to ensure that every service member, regardless of rank or position, has the right to confidentially initiate mental health support without going through their direct chain of command. This is particularly significant that service members may have previously been reluctant to report due to fear of repercussions. The Brandon Act can be invoked for issues like depression, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as substance use issues, gambling problems, and sexual assault or harassment.

Invoking The Brandon Act

By stating, “I need to talk to someone about the Brandon Act,” an individual can access medical or Family Services without further questioning. This confidentiality ensures no retaliation or negative repercussions upon their return to duty, promoting a secure environment for seeking help.

The Brandon Act serves as a proactive suicide prevention approach that emphasizes early intervention and potentially life-saving support. It is a monumental step forward in ensuring that mental health and wellness are on equal footing with physical health and wellness.

“Any kind of help that they are needing, they just invoke The Brandon Act, and they are supposed to get immediate help,” Terri Caserta “All we want to do is to save lives.”

With every service member who says, “I would like to speak to someone about The Brandon Act,” they are not only invoking an important protection, but they are also honoring the memory of Brandon Caserta as they access the support and resources that were out of his reach.

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