CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Over the past two weeks, police officers saved two people from suicide attempts.
One of those people- a veteran- signaled to what may be a bigger problem.
Since 9/11, more veterans have died by suicide than in combat, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. Air Force Veteran, Albert Woodin, has struggled with PTSD since the Gulf War.
“It affects your family, it affects your personal life. You put stuff away and you really do not want to talk about it, and it can manifest 23-24 years later like it did for me," Woodin said.
While he has been able to overcome his struggles, Woodin can count the number of friends who were not so lucky.
“I have lost a few friends that I have served with, and knowing that a person can go down such a dark road so quickly and be left alone, or feel like there is no one there to talk to, is a huge problem, and we as veterans and smaller organizations need to rely on each other, to be able to have someone to speak to, to know that there are resources to be used," Woodin said.
In 2019, there were over 6,000 veteran suicide deaths nationwide.
Dr. Jennifer Wray, the VA Hospital Suicide Prevention Coordinator, said the key is intervention before the point of crisis.
“We are trying to make sure that we are mitigating risk factors for suicide and bolstering protective factors, so those are things like making sure folks are housed, they are employed, that they have good community engagement, and that any psychiatric or mental issues are being well managed," Wray said.
The VA Hospital offers services for PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and more.
The veteran crisis line is open 24/7. That number is 1-800-273-8255, and press one.