DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, twenty to twenty-five percent of veterans will be diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
The department also found in August 2016, an average of twenty veterans commit suicide. Of those twenty, only six were actively getting help.
Dave Woods, a veteran service officer and a veteran himself, knows how hard it can be to come forward to seek that help.
“It’s like you can take the horse to the trough but you cant make him drink,” Woods says. “Sometimes you’re there to help a veteran and you get to a certain area and they just dont want to talk about it.”
Sandy Behrle, mother of a veteran, says she thought her biggest worry was when her son was serving in Afghanistan.
“I thought if I could get past that I could get past anything,” she says.
Yet, seeing her son suffer from the demons of PTSD has her worried again. She keeps a close eye on him, making sure he doesn’t start having suicidal thoughts.
To combat PTSD, Woods and other veteran service officers try and do the best they can.
The problem is Woods is the only VSO for Scott County, which has about 16,000 veterans.
Berhle argues something in the system needs to change.
“It’s a catch-22,” she adds.
For the civilian, Woods acknowledges it can be hard to understand everything a veteran has gone through.
“Until you’ve been shot at, mortared at or had someone point a weapon at you or try to kill you, you just dont know what you’re talking about,” he says.
He knows what those vets have been through and that’s why he works so hard to help them fight the battle of the mind.
“There’s no magic wand to cure someone of PTSD and there never will be,” he says.