COLUMBIA COUNTY, GEORGIA – Nearly 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
Many of them suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and don’t get the treatment they need.
Some service men and women are scared to admit they experience episodes, taking them back to their days at war, because of fear they will lose their careers. Since there is very little screening post-deployment, thousands of P.T.S.D. cases go undetected until it’s too late.
William Mosley is a 21 year Afghanistan and Iraqi Freedom Air Force Veteran. When he returned from deployment life was good. About a year later he says he began suffering from survivor’s guilt. Mosley says he turned to alcohol to numb his thoughts. Finally in 2009, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Veteran says he regularly went to the V.A. Hospital for therapy and treatment, but that wasn’t enough.
“I was down there about 4 to 5 days a week going to classes. Trying to figure out what else I needed,” Mosley told WJBF News Channel 6.
The Afghanistan Veteran says his doctor suggested service dog therapy. That’s when Mosley met Benji, only 4 hours away from being put down at a kill shelter, and like Mosley saved Benji’s life… Benji would soon save Mosley’s life.
“The hill there [Gordon Highway] with the dirt on it or whatever made the flashback appear, but it appeared and I ran my truck off the road and he actually jumped in my lap and got me back. Got me back to reality,” Mosley said.
When Mosley returned from Afghanistan, he says there was very little down time before he got back into his normal routine.
Now, soldiers are required to have a debriefing period when they return home. Still it could take years to see signs of P.T.S.D.
“He may go 20 to 30 years with no problems. As a matter of fact, I know a Master Sargent that did. He was a deacon in his church and they were having a meeting and he flew off the handle and didn’t know why,” said Vietnam Era Veteran and CEO Veterans K-9 Solutions Jerry Lyda.
Doctor Patrick Lillard treated Christopher Hodges, the man who killed Richmond County Deputy J.D. Paugh, and then himself in 2011. Hodges suffered from P.T.S.D. and asked for help, but was refused. Dr. Lillard says Hodges’ case is proof that the V.A. Hospital needs to do more.
“There needs to be more and stronger directives that enable soldiers to come to mental health evaluations and treatment,” Lillard told WJBF News Channel 6.
Just to point out, it is not clear whether Christopher Hodges was having a P.T.S.D. episode the night he killed J.D. Paugh. Also, during our interview with William Mosley he experienced an episode and Benji, his service dog, quickly reacted and brought him back into the moment.
To learn more about the service dog training offered by Veterans K-9 Solutions visit their website, here.