Several groups are devoted to suicide prevention, but a group not as well-known is Mission 22.
Mission 22 is devoted to supporting veterans dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The 22 represents 22 veterans, active duty or dependants of veterans who commit suicide each day.
Veterans Affairs Specialist Michelle Dailey said anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of veterans at UNA suffer from PTSD. Over 500 students are registered as veterans or dependants, but she said there could be 700 on campus because the number she has only represents students currently using the GI Bill.
Veterans Affairs hosts a monthly meeting for students to meet and discuss individual struggles.
“We have each other’s backs no matter what branch, no matter what gender, what religion,” Dailey said.
Dailey said around 15 students attend this meeting regularly. She said since the meeting time is when several students are in class, she sends an e-mail to other students who are interested.
One student veteran, student A, said having PTSD causes normal feelings of anxiety to amplify.
“What could be something most people could probably just get over, for us it can feel like walls are closing in,” student A said.
Student B said PTSD can make some people hyper-vigilent of their surroundings. He also said things, such as a sign on door, can remind sufferers of a past traumatic event.
“(Most people) don’t realize how much of a daily thing it is,” student B said.
Student A said PTSD is a continuous struggle because it morphs.
“It’s fear based, so it has now morphed and been given a new face of something for me to be afraid of,” student A said.
Student A said one misconception about PTSD is that all PTSD is caused from interaction in a combat zone.
Student A said his/ her PTSD is not caused from being shot at but rather being hurt by another soldier through sexual assault.
“My brain is now wired to assume the worst,” student A said. “It’s like my body is in a fight or flight mode I can’t escape.”
Dailey said it is important for UNA faculty and staff to be aware of some issues some veterans may face so they can support them.