Friday, September 19, 2014

Massachusetts National Guard Fighting Suicides

Massachusetts Army National Guard Is Fighting A War Against Suicide
By Lynn Jolicoeur
September 18, 2014

The clanging and hissing noises of cars being repaired are a welcome change from the sounds of war for 31-year-old Nate Radke.

Radke’s business, Gardner Auto Sales, though a little grimy inside the garage, is a shining example of how this Massachusetts National Guard sergeant has turned his life around in a short time.

Two years ago, Radke was living with his wife and two young children in the moldy basement of his parents’ house. He had recently returned from 2 1/2 years of training, deployment to Afghanistan and post-deployment treatment. He was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury — with mood swings, massive headaches, dizziness and sleep problems. He had missed the birth of his first son, who was now a toddler and barely recognized him. His wife was upset he had been gone so long. He says he had been denied Social Security disability benefits and had long waiting periods for medical appointments at the VA hospital.

“I felt left behind. I felt betrayed,” Radke reflected. “I felt that nothing was working no matter what I did.”
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