WACO, Texas (KWTX) It’s the devastating number that we have become all too familiar with in this country.
Twenty-two veterans a day take their own lives according to research by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But one Central Texas organization is pushing full steam ahead with counseling to stop it and address other issues veterans are struggling with.
If you go to the Veterans One Stop in Waco someone will see you and try to help you in the same day.
“I was a combat engineer so we specialize in route clearance, search and destroy missions, looking for roadside bombs,” veteran Boris Morring told us.
Morring spent nine years in the Army including two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.
“Some of the bombs find us before we find them, so I’ve been blown up a couple times, as well as my battle buddies,” he said.
He lost some of the men who served beside him overseas and here at home.
“I had a battle buddy that just lost his life,” he said.
Morring’s friend took his own life.
“We all get to that point when we try to go, go, go. And this is how we cope. But it really helps to have someone there, personally that you can hold, that you can hug if need be, and really talk those things out,” Morring told us.
After enduring 12 bomb blasts Morring himself dealt with injuries, some obvious like his back, knee and spinal damage, and others unseen like traumatic brain injury and PTSD.
Morring has been going to peer-to-peer counseling for years.
He even leads some groups.
“Being with someone who’s been through what you’ve been through. During transition it’s really hard to find someone who can help walk you through and have the patience so peer to peer provides that,” Morring told us.
The Veterans One Stop offers a variety of methods to cope with the struggles of serving, even hosting an art therapy classes.
And a chaplain is in place to help veterans dealing with matters of faith.
Chaplain Mark Henry told us, “I think faith is an important part of the healing process for anyone who’s experienced trauma, whether it’s related to combat, or trauma that someone might experience in everyday life.”
When you come to see Dr. Sue Robinson you’ll get one-on-one counseling.
Depression and a difficult transition to civilian life are among the things Dr. Robinson sees most.
“They’re trained to be great, soldiers, sailors, whatever as far as military personnel goes. But they’re not trained very well back to civilian life,” she said.
Many veterans experience anxiety, nightmares, and they withdraw because they can’t talk about it with family.
This helps them.
“It’s not so much us telling them what to do,” Dr. Robinson said, “they have to be able to work through it and process it and we give them that opportunity.”
And doctors are seeing something called moral injury.
“They’re unable to forgive themselves for something that they had to do that goes against their moral compass,” Dr. Robinson explained.
She says if you come in for counseling someone will meet with you face to face the same day.
“That warm welcome as soon as you get there to meet the need that you have going on. it’s not about their opinion, but what you need, how can I get you what you need, so that’s how the Veterans One Stop really helps when you’re in those situations,” Morring said.
He knows first hand getting help when you need it most can mean the difference between life and death.
Morring said, “the best call if you’re in that situation, is to make that call, because you’ll see people who are out of your environment want to see you live your best life, they want you to continue to be here.”