Showing posts with label attempted suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label attempted suicide. Show all posts

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Suicides end when others break their own silence

Miracles after attempted suicides prevented

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 17, 2020

Stories collected from Wounded Times

In 2007, Owen Wilson attempted suicide and it was big news, and spread around the world. At the same time, we were facing 948 attempted active duty suicides, along with 99 who lost their lives. It was also the year when many survivors faced charges. A female reservists was facing charges after she survived. She tired again, and again, she survived. The charges against her were dropped and her story showed that her mental health crisis had been pushed aside by her superiors.
"I Sat around numerous times with a .44 in my mouth. But for some reason, I just couldn't pull the trigger. I don't know why." said a 57 year old veteran who had attempted it three more times.
Not long afterwards reports of veterans attempted suicides had grown more than "patient count" in the VA. The eyeopener in this piece of news was the age groups who topped the numbers from 2000-2007. 20-24 year old attempts went from 11 to 47 per year. 55-59 year old attempts also went up from 19 to 117.

By April of 2008, the reports on attempted suicides were increased to 1,000 per month in the VA system.

And then something amazing started to happen. Veterans were talking about their own pain so that others would understand it is not all doom and gloom. 

Two years later, veterans were trying to do whatever they could to change the outcome and encourage veterans to seek healing instead of suffering. That is what Jeremiah Workman did as the recipient of the Navy Cross.
He went on to write "Shadow of the Sword: A Marine's Journey of War, Heroism, and Redemption"
read more here

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Veteran Green Beret with PTSD passed out instead of pulling shares something so much better

Smith didn't pull the trigger because he was so drunk and passed out

Green Beret who put a gun in his mouth while surrounded by booze at his lowest point reveals cannabis helped his crippling PTSD - and now he's selling CBD to help struggling veterans who turn to opioids
Daily Mail
18 April 2020
Adam Smith spent 17 years as a Green Beret in the US Army and special forces fighting terrorists and drug cartels in the most dangerous places on earth. But it was in a small cab in Lexington, Kentucky, where he came closest to dying - surrounded by empty bottles of booze, a suicide note and with a pistol in his mouth
Adam Smith spent 17 years as a Green Beret in the US Army and special forces
Brushes with death were common during his daring operations
But it was in a small cab in Lexington, Kentucky, where he came closest to dying
He was surrounded by booze, a suicide note and with a pistol in his mouth
Smith didn't pull the trigger because he was so drunk and passed out
Instead of using alcohol to self-medicate, he turned to cannabis and CBD
He's now launched a CBD line, Tactical Relief, for veterans and first responders
Says it helps with symptoms of PTSD and is a better alternative to the powerful opioids some struggling veterans are prescribed More than 20 veterans and active duty soldiers commit suicide a day in the US

The day after his suicide attempt he arranged to get a beer with a Navy special warfare friend who offered him a chance to train law enforcement in Ohio.

He joined a tactical training company, joined a CrossFit gym and saw his life turn around.

Then he found a solution to ease his trauma in a place he hadn’t thought possible - a cannabis dispensary in Washington state.

He was on a cross-country cycling trip with a friend who had issues with panic attacks and they stopped in.

‘I bought a little, and that night I smoked for the first time. You want to talk about eye opening? I slept better, had less anxiety, felt more at ease, didn’t have any nightmares and seemed to have an extra tick in my anger clock.’
read it here

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Iraq veteran PTSD survivor proud to cry because it helped him heal

This Iraq War Vet Cheated Death 3 Times. He's Proud to Cry About It.

Men's Health
MAR 12, 2020
FitOps, which counts zero suicides among its alumni, cracked Somers open like that first grenade did. For most of his life, he had been motivated by men around him—his cartel-wealthy veteran uncle, or his hardcore first sergeant. In telling his story, and seeing how other people were affected and moved to tell theirs, Somers found his own strong sense of purpose.

Somers after joining FitOps, which helped him discover a new way to cope with PTSD and his harsh upbringing.

FROM ABOVE, YOU WOULD have seen two battered Humvees streaking down a rutted freeway, one behind the other in the center lane, surrounded by miles of Iraq’s parched terrain. As they approached an overpass, one moved into the far-left lane and the other moved far right. Afterward, the trucks weaved back into the same lane.

It was July 2003, and trucks were getting blown up every day in Iraq—insurgents often dropped grenades from overpasses. Bobby Somers, a 23-year-old specialist in the U. S. Army, sat behind the wheel of the second beat-up Humvee, fondly code-named Bertha. Clad in tan fatigues, he had one hand on the wheel, the other on a machine gun pointed out the window. A tiny earbud snaked into his left ear, pumping 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ album from a CD player tucked beneath his seat. Somers had driven thousands of miles like this without incident, and he felt invincible.
After both attacks, Somers was offered a medical discharge, but he stayed. “I remember when I got back into that truck, I was crying,” he says. “I didn’t want to drive out the gate. But I was more scared to let people know I was scared.”

Which brings us to another time Somers nearly died, years after he’d finished his tour, while at his home in Texas. He went into his bathroom, put a gun in his mouth, and almost pulled the trigger. Fate had intervened twice to save Somers’s life. Now he would need a different kind of help.
read it here

Monday, March 9, 2020

Decorated UK War Hero Fighting For Better Care After Attempted Suicide

War hero demands better mental health services for veterans after PTSD caused breakdown

The Express UK
Mar 9, 2020
“I could go and see the doctor, for six months, if I was lucky and she could fit me in once a week. But that was only four sessions a month, so 24 sessions in total. That doesn’t even get through all the trauma of one tour.”

Ex-Colour Sergeant Trevor Coult and his son

He witnessed numerous friends get killed or sustain horrific injuries during a brutal three tours in Afghanistan. Mr Coult was awarded the third-highest military honour for bravery for fighting off suicide bombers and gunmen who ambushed his convoy in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2005.

Mr Coult then survived eight bomb blasts and 76 enemy engagements during three operational tours of Afghanistan.

But he attempted to kill himself by driving his car into a wall.
read it here

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Get rid of the reason they are suffering instead of healing

Veterans already led the way on preventing suicides

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 31, 2019

Today Martin Kuz asked a question on the Christian Science Monitor "Can veterans lead the way on preventing suicide?" but apparently, much was missed. The premise of the article seems to have been focusing on guns instead of acknowledging the fact that given the rate of suicides in the veteran community, the known numbers anyway, has gone up, this is an odd place to start.
"Guns rank as the most lethal method of suicide, with 9 in 10 attempts proving fatal. Almost 70% of veterans who take their own lives use a firearm – compared with about half of civilians who die by suicide – and one-third of former service members store guns loaded and unlocked in their homes."
Kuz began the subheading with this.
"WHY WE WROTE THIS Highly regarded in society, veterans hold the potential to help bridge America’s divide over firearms by recasting the debate as a public health issue."
Yet it seems he missed the point.
"Suicide rates for veterans and the overall population have climbed over the past 20 years, and more than 6,100 former service members died by their own hand in 2017. Mental health researchers suggest that, given the public’s esteem for veterans, the VA campaign holds potential to influence civilian attitudes about lethal means safety as a deterrent to suicide. “Veterans are venerated in our society,” says Dr. Joseph Simonetti, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who has studied gun storage habits among veterans and civilians. “To the extent that they make changes in their approach to gun safety, that could have an effect on the rest of the country.”"
How can veterans with a higher suicide rate, mostly committed by the use of guns, lead the way on preventing them in the civilian world?

Actually they not only can, but they should. The thing is, they cannot do it from where they are right now.
"In response, the VA has sought to promote firearm safety as part of its campaign to reduce suicide risk, urging veterans to consider precautions that include gun locks, removing a gun’s firing pin, or storing firearms outside the home."
There was a bill passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2007 addressing suicides and linking guns to it. The Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act was supposed to "prevent suicides" but as we have witnessed, higher number of suicides happened within the military community as well as the veteran community, just as they also went up in the civilian population.

Taking away guns does not prevent suicides. They just choose another way to do it. It would make a lot more sense to get rid of the reason they are suffering instead of healing.

The thing that most people miss is that when someone joins the military, they train to do whatever is necessary to save the lives of those they are with. Civilians do not do that, for the most part, but we have seen many times when they also put the lives of others ahead of their own.

If we cannot get those individuals to recognize that fact, then how can we get the average person to see that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. It is only wrong when the help they need is replaced by what has already failed.

We know that addressing PTSD needs to begin as soon as possible after "it" happened. The sooner, the more healing can happen but even after decades, there is recovery happening. It has to include mental health help, taking care of the physical reactions and above all else, the spiritual needs of the survivors.

As for the rest, Kuz also must have missed the point that the civilian world already received lessons from veterans. It came in the form of all the research done on what trauma does and that was provided by Vietnam veterans coming home and making all that possible way back in the 70's.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Bodycam captured moment police officer saved man who jumped off bridge

Dramatic body camera video shows officers catch man who jumped off bridge

Emily Van de Riet, Digital Content Producer
Sep 18, 2019

(Meredith) – Newly-released body camera video shows officers in Tennessee clinging onto a man who jumped off a bridge.

The officers who saved the man in April are now being recognized for their quick actions.

Knox County Deputy Brian Rehg and Knoxville Police Lieutenant Chris McCarter both said they were at the right place at the right time.

Rehg, a 13-year police veteran, said he is used to being called to a scene after something tragic has already happened, but he’s not used to a situation where he saves someone from jumping.

“After 13 years of service and seeing all kinds of things, to actually save somebody like that… it feels good,” Rehg told WATE.
read it here

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

PTSD, suicide: ‘I didn’t care about my life or anyone else’s’ but now he does!

Alabama’s homeless veterans: PTSD, suicide: ‘I didn’t care about my life or anyone else’s’ 
By J.D. Crowe 
September 3, 2019
Homeless. Veteran. These two words don’t belong together. How could someone who is willing to die for our country wind up on the streets, kicked to the curb after their service? I’m on a mission to draw as many of Alabama’s homeless veterans as possible and let them tell their stories.
Anthony Rivers, Houston County
U.S. Air Force, ’79-‘83, Army National Guard

We met Anthony and more than 60 other veterans who are struggling with PTSD at a recent American Legion Veterans Retreat near Wetumpka, Alabama. There will be more stories to come from this retreat.

Anthony tells his story:
“After I got out of the Air force, I was doing pretty good – I thought I was. I felt good about doing my patriotic duty and I liked the military, so I joined the Army National Guard which kept me connected to the military lifestyle. Before I went into the military I didn’t drink or do drugs or anything like that. I was clean cut. But in the military, I began to indulge in drugs and alcohol.

“Things started happening to me – the way I thought, the way I treated my family, my sisters and brothers. I got divorced because of the way I began to change. I was initiating the type of discipline on my wife that I learned in the military. I didn’t see anything wrong – that was the way I had been taught. It caused problems and eventually she left me.

“After I joined the Army National Guard I got into some legal trouble and had to leave. I wound up doing time in the penal system. Having a criminal record, it was hard to get a job. So I went to a community college and made myself into an electrician.
read it here

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Saved from suicide atop Bethlehem’s Steel Stacks

21 hours as a crisis negotiator atop Bethlehem’s Steel Stacks
By Sara K. Satullo
July 21, 2019
Through it all, they just kept talking to 25-year-old Jonathan David Wallace, letting him know they were ready when he wanted to talk or come down. Authorities have said they believe Wallace was suicidal.

Kurt Bresswein | For

Over nearly 22 hours last weekend, the Bethlehem police crisis negotiation team’s delicate work played out hundreds of feet in the air above the city as negotiators tried to convince a 25-year-old man to come down from a beam atop the iconic and deteriorating former Steel blast furnaces.
As Wallace paced atop the SteelStacks shouting unintelligibly, police used a drone to capture a photo of the Berks County man and harnessed the power of social media to identify him by posting the photo to the department’s official Facebook page.

With the help of the Allentown police negotiation team, they worked in two-hour shifts, first through the dark of night on an unsafe structure and into Saturday’s unrelenting summer sun as temperatures climbed to 86 degrees and the rusting stacks became broiling hot.
Kott found herself several hours away at a family wedding as the situation unfolded in Bethlehem, assisting the team remotely as they tried to identify the climber, while Detective Moses Miller, the assistant team leader, took charge of the scene. (Kott declined to get into certain specifics about Wallace’s situation due to the pending criminal case.)

Wallace was taken to St. Luke’s hospital on an involuntary mental health commitment. He was arraigned on Thursday on a felony count of risking catastrophe and related charges and jailed after he could not post bail.
read it here

Monday, July 1, 2019

Disabled veteran survived combat...attempted suicide and struggles to stay alive

Past struggles emerging about disabled veteran charged in NT bomb scare

JUN 27, 2019

"After giving up on life he became suicidal and prayed that God would just kill him like Jesus Christ. He miraculously got extremely motivated from peer to peer mentoring without remembering the suicide actions for 6 months, but the same day he retired his brother-in-law fell off a cliff and died. Staff Sergeant Payne felt guilty he endured and survived all these hardships."
We are learning more about a disabled veteran who prompted a bomb scare at North Tonawanda City Hall earlier this week.
North Tonawanda Police say Timothy Payne, 36, remains in custody and is scheduled for a hearing in NT City Court Friday morning for criminal possession of a weapon. He also was evaluated by medical personnel.

Payne was arrested Tuesday afternoon after police found a loaded pistol, two military-style rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition in his van. Bomb Squad agents were also called in after another item found appeared to be explosive. Police now say it was a hitch lock, which "could be construed as a pipe bomb."

In fact, they say further investigation has found that Payne appears to be living out of his van since traveling to New York from North Carolina looking for work. He has ties to NT and met with the mayor to express his distress about not being able to find work, but police say Payne has made no threats to anyone.
read it here

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Vietnam veteran shared decades of PTSD pain so others may find hope to heal too!

Vietnam veteran shares PTSD struggle to help others

KSTP ABC 5 news
June 27, 2019
Hanson got help from doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Thursday, was able to proudly wear his uniform and hear his name and details of his service announced to a stadium full of people.
It may seem strange to talk about a serious subject like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a baseball game, but Vietnam War Veteran David Hanson, of Shorewood, knows that's a little like what living with PTSD is like — outside you make everything seem ok, but inside there's tremendous pain.

"It's still a little tough to understand why a lot of the public had such hatred for the Vietnam vets," Hanson said.

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day – a day meant to bring attention to the mental condition thousands of veterans live with as they are haunted by tragic experiences from war. It can affect anyone who has experienced trauma.

For Hanson, who was a sergeant in the Air Force, the flashbacks and nightmares came decades after his time in combat during Vietnam. He said he became obsessed with safety and security at his home, checking locks multiple times and hiding weapons in several places.

"I started having flashbacks, more vivid dreams, couldn't sleep at night that drove me to three attempts at suicide," Hanson said.

"His breaking point brought our family to our knees," said Cori Hintzman, who said her family had no idea. "I was so shocked with how much pain he had inside and what he lived with everyday. I had no idea, and I lived with him my whole life."
read more here

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Combat wounded veteran with PTSD got jail after failing to kill himself?

Failing Corporal Carson: Veteran with PTSD jailed for months after failed suicide

Author: Phil Trexler
June 3, 2019
Rather than help the vet, prosecutors brought what Deseray Carson calls an “outrageous” criminal indictment alleging eight crimes that did not happen to her or her children. Prosecutors also ensured his incarceration with a high bond usually reserved for killers and rapists.

Wife with 7 children left alone to fight zealous prosecutors for mental health treatment

STREETSBORO, Ohio — Army Cpl. Joseph Carson came home from Iraq with a Purple Heart.

PTSD came along, too.

And it all changed his life and the lives of his wife and seven children.

The flashbacks. Nightmares. The daily struggle.

And then came the 191 days he spent in the Portage County Jail - facing over 60 years in prison - after cutting his arm while trying to kill himself on Veterans Day.

His wife, Deseray, spent those six-plus months fighting for his release, pleading with prosecutors that her husband needed treatment, not confinement.

Those prosecutors and police saw it differently. They convinced a judge to hold Carson under a $500,000 cash bond, then charged him with eight counts of felonious assault, one count each for Deseray and their children. He was barred from speaking to his children.

“My whole world stops,” Deseray Carson said. “A man who fought for his country, and was hit by a bomb, and has sacrificed so much, physically and mentally. It’s just heartbreaking what’s happened to Joe, our kids and myself. He just sits in jail. And for what?”

They were all home last November when Carson, 36, became enraged over alcohol. He struck his wife and shoved his son during the tirade, according to family and police reports.

But he did not attempt, the family said, to use the knife to harm them. In fact, no one was injured that day except for the Army vet.
read more here

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Navy veteran wanted to die until Police Officer helped him live

Ga. officer saves Navy veteran from suicide attempt

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Kristal Dixon
June 2, 2019

SMYRNA, Ga. — A Smyrna police officer who is a U.S. Army veteran stopped a fellow veteran from killing himself Saturday.
Officer Daniel Sperano was working an off-duty job May 25 at RaceTrac at 1461 Veterans Memorial Highway in Mableton when he was told that a man was “acting strangely” on the bridge at Veterans Memorial Highway and Riverview Road at the Cobb-Fulton county line, Smyrna police said.

Sperano arrived at the scene and came face to face with a man who said “he wanted to die and was attempting to jump into the Chattahoochee River,” Smyrna police said.

Sperano grabbed the man, who pleaded with the officer “to let him die,” the department said. The officer struggled with the man, who identified himself as a United States Navy veteran, for more than three minutes.
read more here

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Shepherd Center helped veteran he helps others

Army veteran once called his parents to say good-bye as he contemplated suicide. Now he helps other struggling veterans.

11 Alive 
Author: Hope Ford
April 8, 2019

Gary Herber made a plan and waited until he had 10 percent battery left on his phone to call his parents to say goodbye. Years later, he works with the same program that helped him change his life around.
ATLANTA — Two veterans committed suicide outside of VA medical clinics in Georgia over a weekend in April.

It's a harsh reminder of the struggle and pain of many veterans in America. Roughly, one veteran dies by suicide every 65 minutes in the country.
Gary Herber was almost one of them. In November of 2010, Herber made a plan and called his family to let them know.

"I waited until I has about 10 percent left on my battery and called my parents to say goodbye," Herber recalled. "In a 10-minute phone call, thank God they were able to get the New York City Police to my house and they kicked the door in and saved my life."

Herber served in the Army for close to five years and while in Afghanistan, the truck he was in was hit with a bomb.

"In that moment, my whole life changed," he stated.

He returned to America, his health problems consuming him as he isolated himself from the world around him.

"From chronic pain to anger to anxiety, I just decided I was done with the world and no one could understand what I was going through," he explained.

But that door kick from police saved him and he ended up in Atlanta at a program called SHARE Military Initiative with the Shepherd's Center.

"I spent 14 weeks at the Shepherd Center center and it turned my life around 180 degrees," he said.

Herber now works with the center, run by The Shepherd's Men, a group of veterans and civilians, who help raise awareness, fund raise and work with veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. The programs at the center help address their needs and veteran suicide, with over 500 veterans graduating from SHARE since 2008.
read more here

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Motorcycle officer and big rig trucker saved teen from suicide

Officer’s Quick Thinking, Presence Of Big Rig Helps Prevent Teen Suicide In Arlington

March 27, 2019

“I’ve had it happen in my family – loss due to suicide and it’s not a good thing,” Crawford said. “(I) always ask what could I have done. Well, today, I did something. Maybe he can get some help. Maybe he can’t. But today it didn’t happen.”
ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Arlington Police Department is heaping praise on one of its own for quick-thinking that helped prevent a suicide Wednesday morning.

Police said around 8:30 a.m., a teenage boy looked like he was getting ready to jump off the Kelly Elliott Bridge over I-20.

Cpl. Deric Sheriff, a 15-year veteran motorcycle officer, flagged down an 18-wheeler and directed the driver to pull up and stop underneath the bridge.

The big rig was 13 feet tall, a perfect height for this unusual situation.
read more here

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fire Dept Captain saved "brother" and US Navy veteran

Firefighter honored for saving colleague from suicide
Nate Eaton
East Idaho Real Heroes
March 14, 2019

POCATELLO — Dustin Hale was ready to end it all.

The Pocatello firefighter had decided life wasn’t worth it and didn’t care to live anymore.

“I had reached a point where I couldn’t see a way out,” Hale says.

Hale served ten years in the U.S. Navy before joining the department where he worked for five and a half years.

He was a paramedic and dealt with traumatic, life and death situations nearly every day.

“You take those images home and you see all that pain and suffering and some people are ok with it,” Hale tells “I seem to absorb all that and take it with me all the time.”

The PTSD from his job led to insomnia and Hale would sometimes go two or three days without sleeping. He turned to alcohol and it got to the point where he could no longer do his job.

“I knew that I wasn’t the person I would want showing up to take care of me,” Hale says.

Hale’s behavior was so bad the department needed to let him go but on the day he was supposed to meet with administrators, he never showed up.

“I reached out to try and contact him and was unable to get a hold of him,” recalls Pocatello Fire Captain Andy Moldenhauer.

Moldenhauer didn’t feel right about Hale’s absence so he met up with Hale’s sister and went to his house.

“The fire department is a brotherhood and I relayed to him that even if he was no longer an employee of the fire department, he was still a brother,” Moldenhauer says.

Those work brothers spoke for four hours with Hale initially refusing to even think about getting help.

“He admitted to having a gun in his mouth earlier that day and that was the point when I tried to turn his experience as a paramedic on him and say, ‘You’ve now obligated me to stay here,'” Moldenhauer says.

Eventually, Hale agreed to go the VA Salt Lake City Center and Moldenhauer, along with a battalion chief, drove him to Utah.
read more here

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Glock was loaded with a round in the chamber, now veteran offers empowerment

An Indiana veteran sat in his kitchen ready to take his life. Then he looked at the clock.

Indianapolis Star
Holly V. Hays
March 14, 2019
Two days later, while he was still contemplating how best to kill himself, Eric received a phone call. One of his former platoon sergeants, a close friend, had killed himself.
The Glock was loaded with a round in the chamber.

U.S. Army veteran Eric Donoho sat in the kitchen of his Carmel home, trying to decide where he was going to die.

Not here, he thought. My family's gonna have to live in the house I just killed myself in.

Eric had been to war. Survived three bomb blasts. Lost children and friends. Was on the verge of losing his marriage.

Would the yard be better? Should I get in the car?

The minutes ticked by as he deliberated. Something made him check the clock.

2:15 p.m.

Time to pick up the kids.

He walked away from the fateful decision that day but remained committed to following through with it.

The death would later upend his family. But the death would not be his.

Bliss and heartbreak
A native of South Bend, Eric enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004, when he was 26. He trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, completing infantry, airborne and shoulder-fired missile training. On a flight to his assignment in Fort Richardson, Alaska, he met the woman who would become his wife.

They spent much of the eight-hour flight between Atlanta and Anchorage laughing, Jenn Donoho said. They married nine months later, March 2006.

“We had so much fun in our early relationship and marriage, and whenever things were tough, he always had the right amount of humor to lighten those moments,” Jenn said.

They had less than a year together before Eric was deployed in October. Jenn was 28 weeks pregnant with their first child, a son they would name David.

"We said goodbye at base," Jenn said, "and that night, I dreamed that David died."

A Red Cross notification upon landing in Kuwait had Eric back on a flight to Alaska. There was trouble with the pregnancy. He arrived just in time for his son's stillbirth.

The couple buried their son at Fort Richardson National Cemetery before Eric redeployed to catch up with his platoon in Iraq.

“That was horrible for everybody,” Jenn said.

Eric was rattled by an explosion his first night back.
He returned to the things he loved before war: photography and the outdoors. During a veterans retreat and expedition to New Mexico he took a photo he now calls “The Canyon of Hope" along the Gila Fork River.
read more here

Thursday, February 28, 2019

UCF police officer honored for responding to 100 crisis calls

UCF police officer honored for responding to 100 crisis calls: 'He's part counselor, part detective'

Orlando Sentinel
Michael Williams
February 28, 2019

In 2010, the University of Central Florida Police Department detained 30 people under the Baker Act, a state law that allows law enforcement to temporarily hold those who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Detective Luis Rivera (left) shakes hands with Chief Carl Metzger during the University of Central Florida Police Department Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Rivera won CIT Officer of the Year, and Officer of the Year. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

By 2017, that number was 118.

Whether that increase is due to the proliferation of social media or typical student stresses, campus police officers are routinely expected to juggle being a cop as well as a therapist. The stakes are high: in December, a 24-year-old student took his life on campus. During two other incidents in the past year, students faced charges after illegally possessing or modifying high-powered weapons.

In response to that demand, the department recently assigned Detective Luis Rivera to be UCFPD’s first “Persons of Concern” detective.

Rivera — who has handled more than 100 cases over the past year for students who have been suicidal, mentally ill or even homicidal — was honored as UCFPD’s Officer of the Year during an awards ceremony Wednesday. He was also named the Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year for the entire Central Florida region.

“He’s part counselor, part detective — in some cases he has prevented individuals from hurting themselves, and in some cases he’s prevented individuals from hurting other people right here at UCF,” Chief Carl Metzger said. “ … We’re going to take a sample of his blood and clone him, because we need about three Luises.”
Others honored at the ceremony include a group who went to the Florida Panhandle to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts; an officer who developed a bond with a student who posted a picture holding a gun to his head on social media; and Officer Victoria Scott and Sgt. Anthony Chronister, who saved the life of a student who threatened to jump off a parking garage last year.
read more here

Monday, February 25, 2019

Seminole County Sheriff trying to prevent suicides...starting with his own

Seminole County sergeant speaks candidly about suffering from PTSD, suicidal thoughts

By: Katy Camp , Lauren Seabrook
Feb 23, 2019

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - In the mid-'80s, Sgt. Mark Dibona decided on a career. He decided to go into law enforcement, joining the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

"I've been on the job now almost 34 years," he said.

That's more than three decades of seeing people at their worst, day in, day out. Exposed to tragedy, violence and - at times - overwhelming sadness - Dibona took the advice of those before him and developed a tough guy mentality.

"We were told to toughen up, walk away, have a beer," he told WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook.

But that hard shell was just that - a shell. The truth of his heart reveals a man who is deeply caring, deeply empathetic and devoted to the people he is committed to protecting.

"A family pulled up next to me about two or three o'clock in the morning and handed me their baby and said, 'My baby's not breathing,'" he recalled. "It seemed like it took forever when I was doing CPR. Unfortunately the baby didn't make it. But to this day, I can still feel the baby on my arm. And that took a toll on me."
read more here

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Veteran “it” all started with my Combat PTSD

How Becoming an Entrepreneur Helped Me Overcome Suicidal Thoughts

Steven Kuhn
Principle of Immediate Impact Consulting
February 13, 2019
Army veteran Steven Kuhn discusses his ongoing battle with Combat PTSD.
After years of pushing away loved ones, ignoring help and trying to forget my past, I came to the realization that embracing Combat PTSD as a source of strength was my only way out. Sounds crazy, I know, but hear me out. It shows me that I went through war and survived. I saw my inner darkness and lived there, saw death by my own hand, and lived through it all. Combat PTSD gives me the ability to do anything I want.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The artillery was still dropping as I ran up to Sgt. Young Min Dillon’s position. I heard he was hit and arrived just in time to share the last moments of his life. That was 1991 in Iraq. I feel fortunate to have been there and at the same time, it haunts me every day because it should have been me. At least that’s how I feel and that is where my doc says “it” all started with my Combat PTSD.

Veterans are an interesting demographic. We volunteer to do things most people don’t or won’t. Once we enlist, we are told what to do and when to do it. The basics are taken care of so that we as soldiers, marines, airmen and seamen can hyper-focus on our one task at hand. We become part of a massive team effort. In the military, no one needs to say a word: who you are, what you have done, where you served, how long you served and what you accomplished is all seen on your uniform.
I know all about the realities and horrors of PTSD firsthand. In 2008, I attempted suicide after leaving the military. At the time, I was staying in Germany where I was stationed. I attempted to grab a police officer’s weapon to shoot myself and when that didn’t work I grabbed a knife to finish the job. I came out the other side with a feeling of hopelessness I never thought I could overcome.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge” saved over 200 from suicide

Guardian’ Officer Has Saved Over 200 People From Jumping Off the Golden Gate Bridge

Good News Network
By McKinley Corbley
Feb 18, 2019
“We talked for 92 minutes about everything that I was dealing with. My daughter, her first birthday was the next month. And you made me see that if nothing else, I need to live for her.”

It’s a police officer’s job to protect and serve – but Kevin Briggs never thought that his job would lead him to save over 200 people from committing suicide.

Briggs has been dubbed the “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge” because of his awe-inspiring history of talking people down from the edge of the historic landmark.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world’s most notorious spots for suicide attempts. Briggs, who is a California Highway Patrol officer, was first stationed on the bridge in 1994 – but he says that he had never been trained on how to handle suicidal people.

As he encountered more and more distraught individuals, however, he began to pick up more and more strategies on how he could talk to them efficiently. Whenever he successfully managed to coax someone off of the ledge, he would ask them about which parts of his approach were helpful and which ones weren’t.
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