Jacksonville organizations help veterans cope with current events in Afghanistan

Watching the devastating images coming out of Afghanistan could be difficult for a lot of veterans in our area triggering even thoughts of suicide or emotional distress.

For many veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) it’s a constant battle but the news in Afghanistan and the recent attack in Kabul only makes it worst.

“There’s simply no question that Veterans around the country are reacting to what they’re seeing in the news right now. And therefore, they’re having flashbacks, they’re having depression, they’re having survivor’s guilt,” Rory Diamond, CEO for K9s for Warriors said.

Nationally the Veterans Crisis hotline is seeing more calls from those feeling the impact.

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Diamond said its call volume has increased too.

“We’ve seen about a tenfold spike in the number of veterans reaching out to us, that’s a huge number,” Diamond said.

K9′s for Warriors said it has a number of resources for those veterans who maybe feeling vulnerable after watching what’s unfolding in Afghanistan.

The organization says on average around 20 veterans die each day from suicide.

The local non-profit is determined to change that by pairing service dogs with veterans dealing with PTSD and other issues.

It’s also expanding its reach to help more veterans in crisis.

“We’ve hired a whole bunch of new team members that are available 24/7. We’re expanding to Texas. We’re looking at other states. We’re doing everything we can to get dogs into the hands of warriors in addition to building the world’s largest rescue dog training center down the street in Jacksonville,” Diamond said.

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On Friday we noticed that all the flags at its Ponte Vedra headquarters were at half-staff in honor of the troops and victims killed in Kabul on Thursday.

Diamond wants all veterans to know this organization is here to help even through the darkest times.

“We just want our warriors to reach out to us to connect with us and lets just talk, find out where they’re at. There’s something powerful about a calm conversation and then you can find out what resources a veteran might need,” Diamond said.

For more veteran resources, click here.