A Marine Corps veteran who was injured in Iraq in 2005 wants to shine a spotlight on the alarming epidemic of suicide among military veterans.
“The military didn’t train me on how to deal with PTSD,” Steven Diaz told News Channel 6 in Georgia. “We’re excellent at our jobs, but mental health was just something that was not taught to us.”
As a result, many veterans succumb to severe depression when they return home after being deployed to war zones around the world.
There has been a dramatic spike in suicide rates among veterans in recent years. As many as 22 vets commit suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Diaz, who was severely injured by a bomb explosion in Iraq, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures and traumatic brain injury after he returned home from Iraq.
Because of his own struggles with suicidal depression and PTSD, Diaz wants other military veterans to know they are not alone.
“Not every service member that’s in the military is going to become suicidal,” he said. “A lot of veterans do really well reintegrating into society and civilian life, but many don’t.”
Diaz started a group called Hidden Wounds to work with retired service men and women who suffer with PTSD. The goal is to help those struggling with PTSD-related depression ease back into civilian life.
“Once you notice that someone is suicidal, do not leave them alone,” Diaz said. If you know someone who is depressed or has expressed suicidal thoughts, please call the veterans crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
On this Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, we give thanks to our brave military men and women for all they do to make the United States the greatest country on Earth.
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