Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor those who have served in different branches of the military. It’s also a day to face some startling statistics. Earlier this year the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report showing that at least 60,000 veterans died by suicide between 2008 and 2017. It is estimated that 22 veterans take their life every day.
The trailer for a documentary that tells the story of one of those veterans who died by suicide will be screened in Denver this evening. Ethan’s Reach-The PTSD Battle: A Mother’s Mission in Honor of Her Son. Leslie McGivern, Ethan’s mother, said she had no idea that Ethan was suicidal.
“So I just thought, okay, he’s just, you know, having a little bit of a struggle with coming back into civilian life. We’ll get you on the GI bill. We’ll get you settled into getting your own place and it’s all going to be good, and he had never been suicidal before at all. So I grossly underestimated it.”
McGivern says she hopes veterans experiencing PTSD and having suicidal thoughts will realize that they’re not alone.
“I feel like Ethan thought he was going crazy. And at one point I was looking back through my old text messages, within a week of him taking his life, one of his text messages with, to me that mom, I think I’m going crazy. I’m yelling at people that aren’t there. And, and so I don’t think he understood that he was experiencing something. Unfortunately, that’s becoming normal with PTSD, but so he felt all alone and I don’t feel like he thought he could reach out to his brotherhood as amazingly close as they are because it would be a sign of weakness or they wouldn’t understand. And in reality, they have all rallied around me and I have formed wonderful relationships now with his brothers. And they are, some of them are experiencing almost the exact same behaviors, emotional issues, you know, thoughts that Ethan had, but now they’re realizing I’m not alone.”
Ethan’s Reach-The PTSD Battle: A Mother’s Mission in Honor of Her Son will be completed in 2020 with its first screening scheduled for Memorial Day. Tonight’s trailer screening will be followed by a discussion featuring veterans.