- Valdosta, Ga. - April 25, 2012 -
Two recent deaths are now putting Moody Air Force Base on high alert for suicidal behavior.
Two airmen died this month in possible suicides; one is still under investigation. It's been about two and a half years since the last suicide at Moody.
"People are not made to stand up to that kind of grueling activity. And that's one of the reasons we see as much Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as we have today," said Ed Kent.
Kent is a Gulf War veteran and member of the Georgia State Department of Veteran's Services. He helps military personnel with PTSD cope with everyday life.
Kent sees first hand how suicide is an ever lingering fog over our armed forces. He says our men fighting today face challenges like nothing his generation ever knew.
"Going back and forth to combat zones five and six times... I couldn't imagine that," Kent told Gullberg.
Major Noreen Marsland specializes in Mental Health for Moody Air Force Base. She says suicide prevention is always a top priority, especially now.
"They feel that they don't have any other options. They're looking for a way out; for all the pain to end. We definitely have services available to help our folks," Maj. Marsland told Gullberg.
A variety of services are available to airmen who will admit to having a problem, but many won't. That's where Chaplain Ismael Rodriguez comes in.
"One of the reasons they may come to the Chaplain is to ask for that kind of help, at least for someone to listen, without being afraid that it's going to get out, because of the 100% confidentiality that we provide," Chaplain Rodriguez told Gullberg.
And that support is key for military personnel who are so far from family and friends.
"You're always thinking about your family. You're always thinking about your kids. After a while it weighs on you," said Kent.
Airmen receive annual suicide awareness training throughout the year.
Major Marsland says tell-tale warning signs that someone may be considering suicide include:
- Changing mood
- Changing appetite
- Poor Hygiene
- Giving away possessions
- Threatening Self Harm