It's been five years since Jacob Sexton, a soldier with the Indiana National Guard, came home with nightmares after two combat deployments, and on a Monday evening in a movie theater with family and friends, killed himself with a pistol shot. He was 21-years-old. The story is horrifying, and sadly familiar. On this day, we pause to honor the 21.9 million living Americans who have served in uniform. We might also remember the estimated 8,000 veterans and 475 active duty, reserve and National Guard men and women who took their own lives last year in the ongoing tragedy of military and veteran suicide. Jacob's death, like the others, could have been prevented.
The VA's shortage of therapists and difficulty reaching rural veterans means even those diagnosed may not get all the help they need. But even those who were diagnosed and treated find that at some point, therapy has done all it can do. More sessions won't necessarily help. From that point on, veterans say, their lives become a matter of coping.