SAN ANGELO, Texas — The holiday season may be a time many people anticipate to spend with loved ones. But, for some veterans and active service members, the holidays can be a difficult time.
“During the holidays, those feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness, stuff like that seem to be amplified,” Texas Workforce Commission Veterans Resource Coordinator, Luis Martinez, said.
It's often a time those who have served our country may experience heightened feelings of loneliness or depression.
Martinez said most veterans in San Angelo are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“PTSD, the biggest one, whether it's through combat or sexual assault. You know, sexual assault is another form of combat that most women and men are suffering through. And we want to make sure that whether it's combat PTSD or military sexual trauma, that we're here for them,” Martinez said.
With those feelings during the holidays comes an increased risk for suicide.
“Unfortunately, per capita, we keep up with Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio on veterans suicides and that's a number that we don't want to take the lead on. We are a smaller community. So when a veteran, our servicemember's life is taken, you know, it hits us twice as hard. So, unfortunately, there is a spike,” Martinez said.
There are various support groups and resources available in West Texas. But, Martinez said seeking help is the biggest challenge.
“The hardest part is acknowledging that you need the help. You don't have to feel like you have to suffer alone,” he said.
Resources available include:
- San Angelo VA Clinic, 4240 Southwest Blvd, San Angelo - Contact: 325-658-6138
- Disabled American Veterans Chapter 237 - Contact: Chairman, Luis Martinez, 325-513-3387
- American Legion, Smith-Bryant Post 572 - Contact: Jeff Meurer 817-395-2647
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1815, 125 S Browning St. - Contact: John Muckleroy, 325-655-6550
- MHMR Concho Valley, 202 N. Main St. Contact: MVPN Peer Service Coordinator, Richard Rodriguez, 325-812-5241