Thursday, September 29, 2016

Florida Combat Medic Veteran Thinks Suicide is His Only Answer After Decades of "Awareness"

Jacksonville veteran feels suicide is only answer despite push to raise awareness during September
Florida Times Union
Joe Daraskevich
September 28, 2016

Terry Russell Bass Jr. joined the Army when he was 19 years old. He believed in the military and was willing to give his life for his country so strangers could enjoy the feeling of freedom.

He’s now 35, living with his wife and three children in a mobile home on Jacksonville’s Westside, and he’s ready to kill himself so his family doesn’t have to struggle anymore.

“I’m tired,” Bass said recently as he sat on his couch wearing one of his four white undershirts and a pair of ragged athletic shorts. “If it’s OK for me to die for my country, then why is it not OK for me to die because I’m tired of being tired?”

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the military and veteran communities in Northeast Florida have been working to spread the message of awareness and assistance that has eluded Bass for so long.

The Navy announced a new suicide-prevention program Sept. 16 called Sailor Assistance and Intercept for Life, or SAIL. The new national program provides continual support to supplement regular mental-health treatment for the first 90 days after suicide-related behavior.

“We are going to assign an advocate to follow up with them, kind of like being in aftercare,” said Command Master Chief Donald Henderson of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast at Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

He said a lot of times suicidal thoughts among sailors stem from something happening away from the base. Issues with family life or illicit drug use are common things that can lead to suicidal thoughts, Henderson said.
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