After a veteran with post traumatic stress disorder shot and killed twelve people in a California bar, many are wondering if he didn’t have the resources he needed to cope with his condition.
WAAY 31 spoke with a local nonprofit organization about the services available for veterans who may be struggling with PTSD.
“PTSD is a subject that people don’t like to talk about. It’s like it’s a hidden secret," said Gerald Fletcher.
Fletcher is a veteran who struggles with PTSD. In fact, he once had the cops called on him when bad memories were triggered while he was at a Walmart.
“It frustrates you to a point where the episode grows and grows into a point where it’s out of control," Fletcher said.
But since that incident, Fletcher has gotten help from a local nonprofit called the Veterans of North Alabama Services Assistance Program. He now volunteers for the organization to help other veterans with similar issues.
“I think we need somebody to care. That’s the key thing," Fletcher said. "When you have a hidden illness, you don’t need anybody pampering you and whatnot, but to just show compassion.”
Fletcher says one of the best ways to handle PTSD is to take proper medication.
“That day I was in Walmart, I was off my medication. If I had been on my medication that day in Walmart, it wouldn’t have been such a traumatic experience for me. I could’ve been able to blow it off and try it again," he said.
But more importantly, Fletcher says you should talk to someone about it. Something he says he’s afraid the California shooter never did.
“What we do—all military ranks—we consider each other battle buddies, so I hate it for my battle buddy that he was going through what he went through; but if he would’ve had the resources to reach out, or had someone to talk to and confide in, I’m sure this would’ve never happened," he said.
The Veterans of North Alabama Services Assistance Program says they have people there to talk with you if you’re struggling with PTSD, and if you need more help, they say they can point you in the right direction.