The US Military is dealing with a growing number of suicides. The major risk factors include having multiple deployments, suffering from post traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Army Veteran Wayne Dyle doesn't blame his time in the service but that last factor, drug and alcohol abuse for his suicide attempt. When he wanted to get off drugs and his wife did not, his third marriage began to break up. The break up and his $1500 a week drug habit were taking a toll. He describes how one day he loaded up, "When I ran out of the beer, the vodka, the meth, the crack, I ran out, I was out of money, said Doyle."
Then he tried to slit his wrists.
Dyle eventually reconnected with family in the Columbia area and recommitted his life to Christ. He then learned being a veteran qualified him for an intensive rehab program at the Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia. There he also reconnected with fellow veterans. "Having something in common and talking about our experiences in the service, our love for our country and you know camaraderie probably helped me out a lot," said Doyle. After previous rehab attempts failed-this one worked. He's been clean and sober for four years now.
The VA wants all veterans to know where to find counseling and treatment and that's why they are holding programs to train non-patient care workers to spot the signs someone is considering suicide.
Suicide prevention counselor Kathy Crews says people will open up to anyone who shows they care. Sometimes that person is Patient Services Assistant Teana Cook. She knows the few minutes she spends with a veteran can be critical. "I had one guy that came in here that was very, he was shaking, crying," remembers Cook. "He said that he had just come home from Iraq and that he had some issues that he wasn't able to talk to anyone about but had tried several times." She helped him calm down and find help at the hospital's 24 hour walk in clinic.
The training proved helpful for VA Food Service Worker Elbert Pullion. Less than a day after he had the suicide prevention training he learned of a friend's plan to take her life. He was now confident the VA counselors could help and he urged her to get counseling right away.
In addition to in-and-out patient counseling and treatment services at the VA and its clinics, help is available any time of day through two hotlines:The Veterans' Crisis Intervention Hotline - 888-899-9377Suicide Prevention Hotline - 800-273-8255.
Wednesday on KRCG News Nightside at 10 p.m. learn about the suicide prevention training program all members of the Missouri National Guard must complete this spring and the team at Lincoln University helping make it possible.