LUBBOCK, Texas — As the community remembers and honors our heroes on Veteran’s Day, it’s important to also remember that 20 veterans are lost every day in this country to suicide. On Wednesday, Texas Tech rang their victory tower bell 20 times in the memory of those vets.
VetStar is an organization that provides several resources – including many related to mental health – for veterans in need. Anyone struggling can reach out to them through their Facebook page or by calling 806-470-9317.
“They reintegrate into society the best that they can,” said Director of VetStar, Greg Gittner. “So, when you talk about suicide to say one out of 20. You know, it’s still a substantial number.”
As a veteran himself, Gittner explained why suicide could be common for vets.
“They’re taught mission first, your teammates second and you last. So, it’s a shame to say I need help,” said Gittner. “I’m here to take care of everybody else above me. Me last and then mentality, I think carries over into the civilian world.”
With over 20,000 veterans in Lubbock, Gittner said that understand what our heroes go through during combat is important.
“Understanding the military, their whole purpose is to just protect America and America’s interests,” he said. “So, you will, you’ll have the person that’s 18 that can’t find a job, they join the military. So, for the first time, they’re away from mom and dad. This is where they start the growing maturing process.”
A lot of veterans also experience Post Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – which can be isolating, Gittner explained. However, they’re not alone.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of. The shame is knowing you’re broke, and not doing anything about it,” said Gittner. “The best thing I can tell everybody that’s out there watching this report is simply, if you see something, say something.”
Gittner encourages the community to reach out to any veterans they know—especially during these challenging times posed by the current pandemic.