U.S. Army dedicates Thursday to suicide prevention training

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

The U.S. Army dedicated a day to suicide prevention training Thursday, as the number of veteran suicides continue to rise.

Army veteran Dom Domingos said it's difficult for veterans to re-adjust to normal society after war.

"People have to understand - that war is hell," he said.

He said it's import that the issue has been brought to the national forefront.

"If we, as a government, can spend money foolishly, run up $16 trillion worth of debt on God knows what programs...we can't spend a few bucks on saving a veteran - then what kind of country are we?" he said.

And Domigos projects it's only getting worse .

"As we continue to bring more and more troops home, I think we're going to have the problem readily evident," he said. "So I'm glad that they're addressing the issue."

Charles Rister, Denison VFW post commander, said he knows two veterans who have almost committed suicide.

"Once they came back state-side, just a lot of uncertainty and what they were expecting, what they were getting out of the service, what they were gonna do next. Couple that with PTSD," he said.

Rister said it's important for veterans to seek help immediately after returning.

Larry Harding, Sherman VFW post commander, said the only people who can truly understand what it's like are fellow veterans.

"The average-Joe does not know what these men go through," he said. "The places they've been and all this. To try to explain it to someone, they're not gonna do it. They're gonna hold it in."

Harding said it's important to talk to other veterans, especially if they are having problems.

"We are welcoming, we're here to help you," he said. "If you want to come into the VFW we'll steer you in the right way. We'll even sit down and talk to you. Sometimes veterans will talk to veterans where they won't talk to the average-Joe outside on the street. Because they've been through it and we know what they're going through."

And Domingos agrees.

"For God sakes, get together with other veterans and talk about it. Don't bottle it up."

The Army has recorded 116 suicides to this point in 2012 - more than any other branch, according to the Associated Press.

But veterans are hopeful that the issue is now getting the attention it needs.

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