Friday, September 23, 2011

5K walk raises awareness for PTSD after suicide by Fort Collins soldier who was treated at Cheyenne VA

Here's a sobering statistic from a story in the Fort Collins Coloradoan:
The Veterans's Administration Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne "in fiscal year 2011 (through July) had 1,954 veteran patients with PTSD, comprising 10.7 percent of the veterans seen, according to VA spokesman Andrew Ruben."
That breaks down to almost 200 patients a month being treated for PTSD. And that's only at one VA Center in our little corner of the world.

U.S. Army Spc. Nicholas Larson of Fort Collins was treated for PTSD at the Cheyenne VA. It wasn't enough. Larson, a 22-year-old Iraq War veteran, killed himself May 12, 2010, leaving behind a wife and son, among other loved ones.

Elizabeth Larson-Haag (sister) and Larson's mother, Monica Meisner, have since started A Soldier's Silent Cry, a petition for the U.S. military to require that troops who have served overseas undergo regular mental-health evaluations.

They are organizing a 5K run/walk that walk starts at 10 a.m. Sunday beginning and ending at Veterans Plaza at Spring Canyon Park in Fort Collins. Contributions benefit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which helps people who have lost loved ones in the military.

More staggering stats:
PTSD affects 11 percent to 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' website.
Ruben at the Cheyenne VA said veterans struggling with PTSD can find assistance at their local medical center, which can be found at or by calling the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center at (877) 927-8387.

For more information about registering for the walk or the petition, visit or call (970) 581-7905.

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