Transitioning from military life to the civilian world can be even more difficult after having been to war. According to Haley Derr, when heroes transition out of the war, a majority of them deal with PTSD and experience suicidal thoughts.
In 2012, at the age of 24, Colton Derr tragically took his own life just six weeks after returning home from Afghanistan. In response to this loss, the Colton Derr Foundation was established to help veterans wrestling with PTSD and assist them in their transition back to civilian life.
“In an effort to help people dealing with PTSD or dealing with issues financially and try to help get to the light at the end of the tunnel; making sure that they know it’s hope out there, that there’s somebody out there that does care about them and that they would be missed if they were lost to PTSD,” said President of the Colton Derr Foundation, Haley Derr.
According to the Sergeant Derr Foundation, more than 20 veterans take their own lives each day.
“The military is doing a good job at addressing it now, in the last few years. Even just coming back through Fort Hood or Fort Covazos, every station you go through is asking you about how you’re feeling, how you’re handling things, or how you’re planning for a transition. But they didn’t used to have that until more and more statistics about PTSD and military suicide came out,” said Derr.
PTSD can develop in response to traumatic events, which are terrifying and distressing experiences that one may witness, hear about, or personally endure.
“There’s a lot of pride in the military, so when people are in the military, they don’t really talk about any of their feelings or what issues they have going on. But when they get out and are alone, that’s when the issues can arise,” said Derr.
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