TULSA -- 22 families are affected every day by veteran's suicides. An EMSA paramedic is breaking barriers and starting the conversation about this difficult topic through social media.
"That’s my brother, Matthew Gault, right there," said Kathleen Gault, who lives in Tulsa.
Matthew served eight years as a Unites States marine, and spent more than a year in Afghanistan.
"He talked about how people would run towards the base and if they didn’t get blown up by mines, that the snipers would shoot them," said Gault.
His sister, Kathleen, knew something was wrong after he came home.
"He had called me the night before at probably 4 a.m. and was crying on the phone and saying that he was having problems," said Gault.
The next day, Tulsa police called and told her Matthew had taken his own life inside her house.
"With suicide a lot of the guilt is, why was I or my love not good enough to save this person?" said Gault.
A video EMSA paramedic Chaz Dahda posted gained Kathleen’s attention. He did the 22 push-up challenge alongside other local first responders.
"The more that we can get word out and just let veterans know that we know how much they sacrifice," said Gault.
Matthew passed away 10 years ago at the age of 26. Kathleen says it was unheard of back then to talk about suicide among veterans, so seeing Dahda's post gives her hope.
"When you have depression you don’t feel like you can talk to people because they’ll look at you weird or judge you or say that you can’t handle it," said Dahda.
As a first responder who battles PTSD and depression, Dahda is making it his mission to open the door for these conversations. He hopes continuing the push-up challenge with local first responders will help.
"Part of that is taking care of ourselves first, so we can take care of other people," said Dahda.
If you are a veteran or know one who needs help, you can call the V.A. crisis line 24/7. The number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also text 838225 any time of the day or night.
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