EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU)- Suicide among veterans is an ongoing issue without an easy solution.
But one local veteran who knows the problems of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand decided to do something about it, something he hopes will save lives.
Navy Veteran Paul Davis was angry about seeing his friends and fellow veterans die of suicide, so he entered a film contest to try to make a difference.
Davis produced a documentary titled “22 A Day”, a reference to the daily average number of veterans in the U.S. who commit suicide.
The documentary is a series of interviews with local vets and veteran support group leaders talking about the causes of the problem and solutions. Davis says he learned a few things just by making the film, that simply listening and asking questions can save lives.
“As a veteran, at times you won’t reach out because you have that pride. I’m not supposed to be broken. So at times just having that one person who may not be a veteran say “Are you doing good?” “Hey I haven’t heard from you yet,” says Davis.
Davis was a part of operation enduring freedom in 2013. His role was to provide support for ground troops.
But the transition stateside wasn’t easy and he dealt with alcohol and drug abuse issues.
He says the attention to mental health is getting better, and the VA is becoming more efficient at providing resources.
“The VA has been listening and trying to make that process easier, trying to get the help they need, not just trying to shove a pill down our throats anymore. They’re trying to get to the root causes,” says Davis.
Davis says so far, reaction to his documentary has been positive. He’s hoping the message gets out to veterans and civilians to help slow the persistent problem of suicide.
You can watch the documentary here.