Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Vet Who Attempted Suicide Asks To Be Heard, Not Fixed

Vet Who Attempted Suicide Asks To Be Heard, Not Fixed
Huffington Post
David Wood
Posted: 09/09/2013

This article is part of a special Huffington Post series, "Invisible Casualties," in which we shine a spotlight on suicide-prevention efforts within the military. As part of the series, The Huffington Post contacted military service members and veterans who have considered suicide to learn what saved them from that irrevocable step.

Both times Joe Sanders attempted suicide, he had friends and professional help close by. Both times he was able to stifle the impulse to end his life and instead accept that he needed to get help.

A little luck didn't hurt, either.

Sanders, 48, is an Army reserve sergeant major, the highest rank for enlisted soldiers. The son of an airborne Army Ranger, he grew up in Atlanta in a proud family that valued the ideal of service.

When things went bad, he said, "I had people I knew I could turn to." It was 2005. Sanders was going through a divorce and custody struggle. He had a stroke and recovered physically, but it was followed quickly by depression. His brother, recognizing the signs of severe stress, called to say that if Sanders needed to talk, he was available.

Sanders shrugged off that offer for help. One night he decided to leave the decision up to chance. He loaded his revolver with one bullet, spun the cylinder, put the gun to his head and squeezed the trigger.

It clicked on an empty chamber.
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