SAVANNAH, Ga. – All across the county on Friday, thousands gathered to celebrate and remember Veteran’s Day.
But for many families, their celebrations continue to be cut short because of military suicide.
According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, an average of 20 veterans commit suicide every day.
“Most of the struggle with our military service members is not while they’re on active duty, it is when they come home,” Cindy McNally said.
She is a National Guard veteran and in 2007 her husband committed suicide after returning home from serving overseas.
Since her husband’s death, two of her children have enlisted in the military. Cindy and her daughter, Stefanie, became leaders in the the organization Irreverent Warriors, which connects veterans with other veterans in the hope of lowering the effects of depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and suicide.
She says her new calling is continuing to serve her country by being an advocate for veterans.
“No matter what you tell me, I won’t judge you. I’m not going to try to mother you but I’m going to reach out to you ’cause I know the reality is that if you don’t you’re gonna end up like my husband. And that’s not an option,” McNally said.
Locally Jessie and Anna Brewster are working to break down the stigma of mental illness and help vets get the help they need. The couple are both Marine veterans and currently Anna is working on a dissertation about alternative forms of therapy for veterans.
“The main thing I can say for people struggling with P.T.S.D., especially military veterans, is talk to other veterans that have been through a similar situation, places, and another part of it is shame. Some of the things you’ve seen or maybe you did, it not your fault. But you need to express it and talk to it with fellow veterans who can help you through it,” Jessie said.
Anna is currently offering free alternative therapy sessions to local veterans.
If you are interested call: 912-247-0888 OR email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.