Fort Huachuca helping vets with PTSD - Tucson News Now

Fort Huachuca helping vets with PTSD

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TUCSON, AZ (TucsonNewsNow) - The war in Afghanistan is winding down, but many of the troops returning home are continuing the battle on their own.    

Army officials say in the wake of all the suicides mental health care is their top priority.

The Pentagon says there were 325 suicides among Army personnel in 2012. An average of almost one death per day and a record high number.

Vietnam Veteran Allan Clark hopes to reduce that. Tuesday afternoon at Fort Huachuca he told his story of how he beat PTSD.

"I saw a psychiatrist for six years, pills for six years, post psychiatric ward for 14 weeks during my 15 month rehab program."

Clark says he was wounded in Vietnam losing both of his legs.  At the time he was an Army Military Intelligence Captain. He says after years of battling his inner demons, he found the light. But only after years of struggles.

"We don't get our faith act together, we feel sorry for ourselves,we have the bad memories, we start to get on drugs, we start to get on alcohol, those become our idols."

Monica Lervold is another veteran.  She spent almost six years in the Army and continues to struggle with PTSD.  She says many vets are afraid of getting help, but sometimes all they need is a little push from loved ones.

"What people with PTSD say is what they are most comfortable admitting, but underneath that is all of the stuff that they are afraid to admit that they haven't faced yet," Said Lervold.

Tuesday night at the State of Union Address President Obama announced that 34,000 U.S. troops will be home from Afghanistan by this time next year. Which means more people will be in need of mental care.

"Don't just sit around and be sorry for yourself and drown your sorrows in substance abuse. Get some professional help, be strong and get back in the fight of life," said Clark.

Counselors say friends and family members should be comfortable asking a veteran how they're doing or even ask if they feel suicidal. They say it's the first step in getting them help.      

The VA encourages all veterans to enroll in health care.

For more on services for veterans, visit the following links:

Services overview: http://www.va.gov/landing2_vetsrv.htm

Mental health: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/ 

Veterans Crisis Line: http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ 

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