Talking a friend of a ledge.

by Matt Hall on 02-25-2016 in Azimuth Blog

Have you had this happen to you? A friend calls and the monster is at their door. They are in tears and tell you that they can’t forget how their battle buddy died and wishes he/she could switch places with them. If you haven’t heard this one, then thank your lucky stars and get prepared, because it’s coming.


What do you do? You’re not trained to treat this. You had the resiliency class but this wasn’t in the discussion. This is hitting home. You know this person was the master of their weapon and they fought like a true warrior when they had to. Never feared going outside the wire and was always there for all of his section or team.


This happened to me a couple of years ago. I didn’t know what to do. First, I wasn’t prepared for the phone call. I was watching TV and getting ready to go to sleep and a buddy called. In my usual jovial tone I said “Hey, what’s up?” and then he said, “I just wanted to say goodbye, I have a bottle of vodka and a bottle of pills and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Needless to say I was not prepared for this call. I tried to get him to explain a little more about what he was feeling but that seemed to bring about more demons. I felt like I was doing more harm than good. I had no idea what to do. That goodness my buddy saw that suicide was not the right option for him and he went to sleep. We were able to talk him off the ledge.


After that call I called the VA crisis hotline. I reached someone and asked the nice lady on the other end of the phone to tell me more about the hotline. She said that it is staffed 24 hours a day with either Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychiatrists or Psychologists. Not some idiot like me that had no idea what to do.  I called some buddies I know that have either gone through similar issues or had other friends that have gone through this. I found that there is actually a support network out there of veterans that have had the same issue I had and have done something about it. I actually had two buddies ask me for my other friend’s number so they could call him to see if he was ok. They called him and got him set up with a PTSD retreat that they knew of. We then had to find a way to get him from Indiana to California for this retreat and we found a great organization that fundraises to fly people to these sorts of things. Within one week we had this guy a 5 day retreat and the plane ticket to get him there. I can happily say that he is doing great.


There are options out there for us. We just need to know how to find them.


Even if we are unable to get a veteran to California we have options and new opportunities popping up every day here in Indiana! I think the most important part of this whole conversation is two things, 1.) YOUR NOT ALONE 2.) THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO CARE, AND WILL HELP NO WHAT TIME IT IS!

Christopher 03-01-2016 09:30PM
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