After college, Lucas deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, serving in various leadership roles. But when he returned from Iraq, however, he faced a new challenge: multiple soldiers within his company were suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress. The issues his former soldiers faced haunted him and opened his eyes to the need for better, more effective, mental health care for soldiers ultimately fueling his current pursuit of an M.A. in Counseling Psychology.
At the local V.A. hospital, he now investigates PTSD treatment improvement for veterans. He is participating in research focused on the effect spirituality has on reducing PTSD symptoms, as well as another study that aims to help veterans, managing schizophrenia, work more effectively within their community. He is also investigating stigma within student populations studying to be health care providers, with the hope of identifying potential mental health biases early.
As a clinician, Lucas plans to work closely with the Minnesota National Guard, having already co-authored a proposal for a peer support network to make mental health more accessible for soldiers. Long term, he wants to expand mental health care innovation to the general public and participate in health care reform. Although he will always be concerned with giving back to veterans, he recognizes that there are countless others in the community who need better treatment options as well.