They need help to go beyond just staying with their veterans and given the tools to do it, they need support for themselves as well.
To Combat Suicides, Army Focuses On The Homefront
by BLAKE FARMER
January 25, 2013
Alicia McCoy holds a photo of her husband, Sgt. Brandon McCoy. Despite taking part in basewide suicide prevention efforts at Fort Campbell in 2009, Sgt. McCoy took his own life in 2012.
When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.
"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.
Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.
"I sat there and watched this person ask my husband, 'Do you feel like hurting yourself today?' 'No sir.' 'Do you feel like hurting anybody else today?' 'No sir.' And I went, 'Are you kidding me?' " says Alicia.
Her husband was given sleeping pills and antidepressants. But more than a year later, he was found dead in a west Tennessee motel room with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
"I wear his dog tags every day. They were hanging on the rearview mirror in his car," she says. "It is what it is. I can't change what happened."
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40 years ago when Vietnam veterans came home, they didn't have support and their families had even less. In 1982 when I started out after meeting my husband, I didn't have support. I had to read clinical books and old magazines about Vietnam before I started to understand. In 1984 Bill Landreth, a Seattle Police officer and Vietnam veteran, started a group dedicated to helping veterans and their families. Point Man International Ministries developed Out Posts for veterans and Home Fronts for families.
Chuck Dean, publisher of a Veterans self help newspaper, Reveille, had a vision for the ministry and developed it into a system of small groups across the USA for the purpose of mutual support and fellowship. These groups are known as Outposts. Worldwide there are hundreds of Outposts and Homefront groups serving the families of veterans.
PMIM is run by veterans from all conflicts, nationalities and backgrounds. Although, the primary focus of Point Man has always been to offer spiritual healing from PTSD, Point Man today is involved in group meetings, publishing, hospital visits, conferences, supplying speakers for churches and veteran groups, welcome home projects and community support. Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence. All services offered by Point Man are free of charge.
Dana Morgan has been the President of Point Man International Ministries for many years and heads the group of dedicated volunteer veterans and their families across the country to make sure more and more know about what can be done to heal.
Wives have to not just grieve by the grave of their husbands but regret fills them because no one told them what they could have done differently. Parents visit graves and wonder why no one included them in helping their sons and daughters survive being home after they survived combat.
There are no more excuses left for neglecting the families when they are in fact the ones on the front lines of coming home.