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Lawmakers, advocates raise awareness of veteran suicide

Advocates are working to raise awareness about veteran’s mental health and suicide.
Pink slips being sent to deployed soldiers

YORK, Pa. — As people observe World Suicide Prevention Day, advocates are working to raise awareness about veteran’s mental health and suicide. The issue affects many families in Central Pa., including those fighting to help veterans who are struggling.

“I lost my son seven years ago, August 19th, to suicide," said Bruce Bartz. "When you lose someone to suicide, you want to keep their memory alive.”

Bruce Bartz runs a nonprofit called “The Bartz Brigade” in honor of his late son, Trent. The organization works to support veteran’s mental health by providing financial help to those in need.

“I saw the need for the people who are struggling financially that couldn’t go to a counselor or couldn’t afford their art supplies, because that was the tool that they needed to keep their mental health together," explained Bartz.

Christine Waltz is part of the “For the Love of a Veteran” foundation and works to get veterans access to treatment not provided by the Veterans Administration.

"(It's called) SGB, stellate ganglion block," said Waltz. "It basically is an injection, a very quick procedure, into the side of the neck in a group of nerves called stellate ganglion.”

The procedure helps reset a person’s fight or flight response and is said to help improve conditions like anxiety and depression. Congressman Scott Perry is working to get legislation through Congress to make the treatment available at all VA Clinics.

“We’re committed to this mission and we’re going to stay focus and keep fighting, because we don’t want to lose our veterans," said Perry.

Perry says this legislation is important to care for those who fight for our freedom at home and abroad.

“I’m hoping that Congress looks at this and says, ‘we can work together and get a win for the American people and certainly for the veterans, and do something that we all agree on.’”

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