Real Warriors Get Help
“I never planned on coming back.” Retired U.S. Army Major Ed Pulido related those words from a unit sniper having trouble reintegrating back into his community after deployment.
In a teleconference sponsored by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), Major Pulido related how he felt the same way upon returning from Iraq after being wounded by a roadside bomb.
“For me it wasn’t the deployment,” Major Pulido said. “It was the amputation of my leg and the issues related to the injury, and how I was going to go on. How was I going to take care of my family, and what would my life look like next?” These thoughts pushed him to consider suicide as an option.
One of SAMHSA’s eight Strategic Initiatives focuses on Military Families. The goal is to support America’s service men and women and their families and communities by leading efforts to ensure needed behavioral health services are accessible and outcomes are successful.
U.S. Army Major Jeff Hall returned from his second combat tour feeling increasingly angry. He pushed his family away and became consumed with thoughts of Iraq, where he had lost troops.
“It was like I had 800 television sets going in my head, and it was all war-related, what I could have done better. I was beating myself to death, and I began to look for an honorable way to end it,” he said. He contemplated suicide until his commanding officer helped him get help for his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Both speakers emphasized the importance of reaching out and asking for help. They also said that military leaders need to receive education about suicide and suicide warning signs as well as tools and resources to help those in their units who need it.
The Real Warriors Campaign website, RealWarriors.net, includes video profiles from veterans and active duty servicemembers who relate their stories as well as how they sought support.
Watch Major Pulido’s story.
Watch Major Hall’s story.
Listen to the full DCoE teleconference or read a transcript.
Find out more about SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Military Families.
Real Warriors. Launched by DCoE, the initiative promotes resilience, recovery and reintegration of returning service members, veterans, and their families. Read a previous SAMHSA News online article about the campaign.
SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The 24-hour, toll-free, confidential telephone number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans can press “1” to be routed to a Veterans Health Administration crisis center. Veterans can also chat live with a counselor on the website.
Restoring Hope. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, this special series aired in September 2010 on the Pentagon Channel. It featured stories from servicemembers and families affected by suicide.