MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT)– With thousands of military men and women living in Northeast Kansas, PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder, is a real concern.
Fort Riley has lost three soldiers in less than one month. KSNT News ia looking into the help that’s available.
Fort Riley Staff Sergeant Alejandro Franquiz died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 31. Fort Riley Specialist Peter Robbins was killed by police in Junction City on August 7. Another Fort Riley Specialist Richard Cox died on Wednesday from a gun shot wound sustained on August 13. This latest incident is still being investigated.
“People are constantly wondering why the suicide rate is so much higher for veterans and active duty military members, the suicide rate is 21% higher for veterans than the civilian population,” says Stephanie Davis.
Stephanie Davis is a suicide prevention specialist at the VA Eastern Kansas and said there are many reasons soldiers and veterans suffer from PTSD.
“You know a situation like they might be there with the United Nations and bearing witness to the horrible depravity that humans are capable of but maybe being prevented from doing anything about it,” Davis said.
Veterans and soldiers say that only they truly understand the struggle that they go through and talking about it with each other is what helps the most.
Davis said these struggles can stem mostly from unprocessed traumas.
“It makes sense that when somebody is in combat they don’t have the luxury of being able to process through the trauma,” Davis said. “Because if they took the time to process through the trauma they never would have made it out alive,” Davis.
She said signs of suicide can include a person feeling like a burden to the people they love, hopelessness, dramatic changes in moods or behaviors, withdrawing from friends and family, and increased use in drugs and/or alcohol.
Davis said there are many ways people can help others that are struggling with these challenges. She recommends asking questions of someone you think might be struggling, as most people are relieved to be able to talk.
She said to validate a person’s feelings and make them feel heard. Most importantly though, she said after you do those things, encourage them to get help. She said the easiest way is to call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, and press 1.