The number of suicides among active-duty troops in 2012 surpassed the number of troops killed in Afghanistan, which is raising awareness of the potentially deadly consequences of post traumatic stress disorder.
According to Brian Duncan, CEO of the Haven Warrior Support Center in Colorado Springs, said while suicides cannot be solely blamed on PTSD, a correlation can be made.
“Well, I think that you could draw a correlation and say definitely there have been more suicides related to the stressors of multiple deployments and war,” said Duncan.
He told KRDO Newschannel 13 that some signs that a loved one is suffering from PTSD can include irritability, hyperarousal, increased drug and alcohol use and social withdrawal. He added that PTSD affects each person differently, and can cause a wide range of symptoms.
He said it is important for family and friends to be supportive and loving, because PTSD can cause individuals to feel like they do not belong.
“They’ll say stuff like, ‘you’ll be better off without me,’ ‘I’m not helpful in the house or in this relationship,’” explained Duncan.
He said prevention and treatment early is important, saying that waiting can only escalated the situation.
“I encourage everybody, if you have any suspicion, any thoughts, it’s better to react in that way than trying to help somebody when they’re really in crisis,” said Duncan.
Duncan suggest families can contact command or the behavioral health center at Fort Carson; there are also suicide hotlines in town. Families can also acquire more information from establishments like the Warrior Support Center.
“Our community has strong resources to help families get better to help these soldiers heal. So, it takes getting into care and working on it but people can improve and they can get their lives back,” said Duncan.
Call 911 immediately if the situation escalates, and life or safety is at risk.