The War Against Veteran Suicides


BANDERA, Texas — Many of our nation’s veterans find themselves fighting their own war when they come home. 22 veterans a day commit suicide.

A growing number turn to drugs and alcohol while dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a a new treatment center in Texas that is only open to vets and first responders.

Outside Warrior’s Heart ranch, 20 cutouts of steel tell the stories of veterans who have committed suicide.
It’s a problem Annette Hill knows too well. “It’s the part of the war you bring home, and you’re still battling it.”

Her 25 year old son, Army Specialist Adam Hill Gibson, committed suicide in 2009 after two deployments to Iraq. Here at home, he faced another enemy; post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism.

“It’s a hell you don’t wake up from,” Hill says.

Still fighting her own pain, Hill is now Clinical Director at Warrior’s Heart near San Antonio. It’s a private treatment facility for PTSD, traumatic brain injury, drug and alcohol addiction. It’s the first ever to only treat veterans, law enforcement and first responders.

“We treat everything at once, we stabilize the addiction first, that is the truth- and then we start to untie the knot of what is their life.”

Treatment here runs 28 to 90 days. Patients go through 4 individual sessions a week and 3 hours of group therapy a day. On the 500-acre property, fitness and spirituality are also part of the treatment.

“It’s just you and your own personal darkness.”  William was a Navy medic in Iraq.  He returned home with PTSD and turned to alcohol. After experiencing suicidal thoughts, he reached out to dozens of facilities before he found Warrior’s Heart.

“When you get into one of these groups, it’s like a war.  You know, each person is fighting their own personal war right then and there. 
The therapy dogs helped him get back on his feet.  And he’s paying it forward.  He now works with the K9 program – training dogs to help other vets.

(Don Champion, CBS News)

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