Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two vets trek 120 miles for other veterans with PTSD

Two vets trek 120 miles for fellow warriors
Men walk to raise awareness of PTSD in veterans
The News Messenger
Written by
Chike Erokwu
Staff writer
Aug. 15, 2013

OAK HARBOR — When 26-year-old veteran Michael Lattea came home from his second tour of duty in Iraq, he returned with more than he carried five years previously.

Like nearly one in five returning Iraq War veterans, Lattea came back to his family in Oak Harbor with a mental health problem: post traumatic stress disorder.

For Lattea, adjusting to life after service manifested itself in many forms. The nightmares, emotional outbursts and bouts of depression culminated in a suicide attempt two years ago, when he attempted to fatally overdose on alcohol and sleeping pills.

“I know what returning vets go through and what they deal with,” Lattea said. “There is a definite lack of support (for them) when they get home.”

The issue of PTSD continues to receive national attention. On Saturday while addressing the Disabled American Veteran’s convention, President Barack Obama outlined plans to spend more than $100 million on new research into mental health challenges, including PTSD and what he called “this epidemic of suicide among our veterans and troops.”

Instances of PTSD and suicide rates among veterans are climbing, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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