Hometown Hero: Rapper's Lyrics Shed Light on PTSD Struggles

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- It's an issue that was once referred to as shell shock. Post-Traumatic Stress and thoughts leading to suicide once had a stigma that left many soldiers returning from war with no one to turn to.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a report issued in 2010 estimated that 18 veterans die by suicide every day. The suicide rate is impacted by high levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Rapper Jeff Barillaro -- also known as "Soldier Hard" -- is using his love of music to educate the world in a very modern way.

"I felt good. I forgot about all of my problems. I was just creating it for my healing and it just took off from there and ended up helping other people."

"You always do come back different," says Sgt. Louis Colasanti, a war veteran stationed at Fort Leonard Wood. "You don't necessarily come back broken, but you are different. It's a whole new world that you see over there that a lot of people don't get a chance to see."

It took Colasanti a year to seek help.

"I didn't necessarily want to believe that I needed help with those types of things. You feel like you weren't strong enough to be able to handle the problem yourself."

He says Soldier Hard's lyrics really hit home for him.

"I thought his approach was pretty ingenious. He's acknowledging that he has this bad relationship within himself. "

"Our soldiers are our heroes, and we do everything that we can to help them," says Angela Garrett, a psychologist technician at Fort Leonard Wood. She says Soldier Hard's lyrics actually make her job easier.

"It helps with the stigma part because it's one of their battle buddies who has addressed the issues and he's bringing attention to it and he's helping us get information out."

Army chaplains like Major Kenneth Sharpe are trained to identify signs and red flags in soldiers.

"Suicidal ideations are probably one of the most common presenting issues that we would see."

He says Barillaro can relate to soldiers.

"He has personally experienced it, he's been there, and he's struggled with post traumatic stress."

It turns out Soldier Hard's lyrics are having a huge impact on the military, when they were actually created for outsiders.

"I just wanted to spread that awareness and educate everyone of who we are and what we go through. It's normal reaction what we're going through."

Since Soldier Hard's song 'Red Flag' was released April 17 on YouTube, it has received almost 50,000 hits.

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