Oklahoma veteran speaks out about PTSD and veteran suicide rate - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Oklahoma veteran speaks out about PTSD and veteran suicide rate


CARTWRIGHT, OK - They risk their lives serving our country, and now they're dying in record numbers, and not in combat.

The Pentagon says in 2012 there were nearly 350 military suicides.

A number that far exceeds American deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Experts say the burden of more than a decade of combat and a military facing budget cuts could be to blame.

We sat down with a local veteran who was willing to talk to us about the shocking trend, and the problems he's been facing.

"It's the X factor, which you really can't worry about a lot of times."

Veteran Colt Floyd is trying to describe his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2007 after his first tour with the Oklahoma National Guard.

 "Combat it definitely changes you a lot, in whatever capacity you serve in. It's being away from the comforts of home, and having to buckle down and it's serious business, and in my opinion as an infantryman, it's life or death," said Floyd.

And death is something that hit way too close to home for Floyd, on his last tour in Afghanistan, when one of his close friends was killed.

"You know he was one of mine, one of my younger team leaders and my platoon in general we never got over it, it's something that's always going to be in your mind, he was one of our best buds, a good soldier."

Floyd agreed to talk with us about the challenges he's been facing, when he heard about last year's record number of military suicides.

He says since he's been home from his last tour, there have been multiple suicides just within the Oklahoma Guard.

 They sacrifice so much to serve our country and now the alarming number of veterans committing suicide has places like the Bonham VA here taking notice and trying to make a change.

"All of us are desperately hoping we can make a dent in this, or a difference."

Psychologist, Steven Bender helps veterans facing challenges like transitioning back to civilian life.

He says the hardest part is getting them to admit they need help.

 "We actually think that it's the courageous thing to do, to know what your weaknesses are and to seek out help," said Dr. Bender.

"The therapist has been really good for me, I was concerned at first if she'd ever be able to relate to some of the things that I deal with," Floyd said.

Floyd says thankfully his leaders pushed for him to get help, and now his therapist is one of the most influential people in his life.

"One suicide is too many, we want it to be at zero, and we won't rest until we're there," Bender said.

If you're a veteran needing someone to talk to or a family member trying to get help for a loved one click on the link below.