The Al Roker special Life Aid: A Story of Hope, about efforts to help military veterans regain top mental health, premieres on Discovery Aug. 30. The one-hour special details the Life Aid Research Institute, which raises money to provide veterans and first responders with personalized mental health treatments. The organization also focuses on suicide prevention among veterans.
“There’s a lot of work being done with veterans to put their bodies back together,” Roker told Multichannel News. “But there’s a lack of information, a lack of research about brain trauma and those issues.”
Roker said John Wordin, Life Aid Research Institute founder, approached him about doing the special. “I said, absolutely,” shared Roker.
After its Discovery premiere, Life Aid: A Story of Hope debuts on Science Channel and American Heroes Channel Sept. 2. Roker said the three networks cover the “underlying principles” of the special. Discovery makes people aware of the issue, Science covers the scientific aspects of the treatment, and American Heroes sums up the subjects. “They are truly American heroes,” said Roker, whose Al Roker Entertainment produced the special.
Roker is the Today weather and feature anchor, and co-host of the morning show’s third hour on NBC. He does not come from a military background, joking that the closest he came to service was a military school he attended as a child.
He summed up the Life Aid strategy as “research, rehabilitation, different therapies using biofeedback, using different drugs, doing physical and emotional therapy.”
“It’s a multi-pronged approach,” Roker added. “It’s not just one thing, but let’s look at a number of different efforts.”
Roker published the book You Look So Much Better in Person in late July, and the title is something he hears frequently on the street from viewers. “I understand you think it’s a compliment,” he quipped. “But it’s really not.”
Much of the production on Life Aid took place before COVID hit. “We were very careful, with minimal crews and plenty of social distancing,” Roker said. “It’s veterans and their families, so we were very, very careful.”
Roker hopes the special helps viewers appreciate what veterans have given to our nation. “I hope they take away the sacrifice that these folks have made,” he said. “We can never repay them, but we can make sure they become as whole as possible.”
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