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Veterans discuss alarming statistics of suicide among military p - KOAM TV 7

Veterans discuss alarming statistics of suicide among military personnel

Updated:
 Veterans being honored today say there are struggles in life after war and for some those lead to suicide. 

   The latest statistics show twenty-two veterans take their own lives each day.

    It adds up to more than those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mike Kirby is a Vietnam veteran. His wife was a medic as was his daughter, Shawna  who was injured in Iraq. Their military family knows the pains of war. Mike talks about a call from Shawna. 

"Woke me up about three in the morning. And she was in tears and she said, when do the night mares stop?  And my response was,  when they do,  I'll let you know."

Ozark Center New Directions therapist James Childers says, " It's not uncommon  for people to have nightmares, high anxiety around  crowded places, and  driving can be difficult ."

Childers  says veterans with post  traumatic stress disorder find it difficult to relax and de-stress.

Childers says,  "There's a  hyper-vigilance that people maintain  when they  come back scanning for danger just kind of not being at ease."

Veterans of past wars say it's a different situation for today's soldiers.

Vietnam Navy Veteran Ret. Lt. Mac McKeough says, “They're doing back to back tours.  A year over there, back for a couple months, another year over there  and the biggest majority of them are national guard. I mean they didn't  sign up to be on the front lines."

Veterans being honored at McAuley high school Tuesday say they've lost friends to suicide or have been pushed to the edge.

Mike Kirby says,  "we all get to the point  where we say I wish."

Navy Ret. Chief Corpsman Brian Steele says, "I think about the people I've lost.  How strong their spirit was, how strong they were as a person but   not really knowing, cause they kept it hidden so well inside."

Therapy for veterans and active duty at New Directions  is free.  The key is getting them to talk.

Steele says, ‘Mount Vernon (VA medical center)  has always been a  fantastic  refuge to discuss these things and put them out there in the open  so they're not  so compartmentalized,  not a burning  spot in the back of your head all the time."

   Childers  says twenty-two  suicides a day  may be low.

     He says drug overdoses, drunk driving accidents and suicide by cop don't fall into those statistics and are causes of veterans deaths as they avoid dealing with PTSD.

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