Army, advocates working to help at-risk soldiers - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Army, advocates working to help at-risk soldiers

FORT CAMPBELL, KY (WSMV) -

All this week, the Channel 4 I-Team has exposed serious questions about the deaths of 17 Fort Campbell soldiers. Each took his own life, and in many cases their families say warning signs were missed by the military.

Now, as Fort Campbell takes new, bold steps to save soldiers' lives, some question if what the military is doing will work.

Fort Campbell leaders are clear about this: they are acknowledging this is a problem, and are taking very public steps to try and stop the suicides.

But those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and others who have lost soldiers to suicide say something very basic needs to change first.

As a Marine, Zachary Bell, went to Afghanistan wanting to serve his country, and he returned bearing battle scars no one can see.

"Little things that you didn't think would bother you do, like fireworks on the Fourth of July or somebody slamming the door, just not hearing a sound and not knowing what's making it," Bell said.

While struggling with PTSD, Bell hit another low, one of the Marines with whom he deployed took his own life.

"I felt like I failed. He was a really good kid," Bell said.

Now a staff member of a nonprofit working to curb soldier suicides, Bell is among those outside and inside the military trying to turn the tide with differing opinions of how to do it.

First, there are the very public demonstrations by Fort Campbell to show how seriously they're taking the problem.

Last month, the post broke ground on a new facility devoted to treating PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

The new resilience center is open with weights and yoga mats for soldiers to come in, and work off stress.

And perhaps the most visible change is just outside the barracks, where soldiers come seek help at a mental health facility.

But Bell fears some will still avoid the public places to seek help.

"And to put a building right in front of a barracks where they live is probably the worst place of all time. That's the biggest thing, it's the fear and the perception that you'll be seen as weak," he said.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network works with Fort Campbell, and recommends a larger staff and more money spent on suicide prevention.

"If they had more funding, where suicide prevention staff were 100 percent, that could make a big difference," said Scott Ridgway, with the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

And what may be the biggest hurdle is perception. The military is making a big push for soldiers to be open about their problems.

But Dawn Sult-Williams, whose son-in law was accused of murdering her daughter before killing himself, says soldiers still fear, if they talk they'll lose their career.

"I would like for us to really take care of the soldiers, to try to let them know that we do care, and let them know that admitting there is something wrong is not going to result in immediate discharge and loss of your income," Sult-Williams said.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Search warrant executed in 20-year-old cold case of Traci Kegley

    Search warrant executed in 20-year-old cold case of Traci Kegley

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:55 PM EST2018-02-25 19:55:02 GMT
    Traci Kegley. (Source: Kegley family)Traci Kegley. (Source: Kegley family)

    Law enforcement officials are securing 300 acres of land in rural Elmore County Sunday morning to begin a massive operation connected to the 1998 disappearance of Traci Pittman Kegley. 

    More >>

    Law enforcement officials are securing 300 acres of land in rural Elmore County Sunday morning to begin a massive operation connected to the 1998 disappearance of Traci Pittman Kegley. 

    More >>
  • 3 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    3 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:25 AM EST2018-02-25 07:25:46 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:47 PM EST2018-02-25 19:47:44 GMT
    (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River  Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati.  Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...(Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati. Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>
  • Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:16 AM EST2018-02-25 07:16:08 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:37 PM EST2018-02-25 19:37:04 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly