Iraq Veteran Explains Why Vets Need Proper Mental Health Care - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Iraq War Veteran Explains Why Vets Need Proper Mental Health Care

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(WLNS) - Just one day before the recent Fort Hood shooting we spoke with Senator Debbie Stabenow about the importance of mental health, especially for veterans.

This week the president signed Stabenow's bill to offer more mental health options to returning service members.

6 News Joe Khalil spoke with one local vet suffering from PTSD who says more help for everyone couldn't come fast enough.

"Look at the guy down in Fort Hood in this recent attack. You know, I was that guy at one point. I was taking the pills, I was mentally messed up," said Cody Serna, Iraq war veteran.

Like too many veterans Serna suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Anxiety, fear and rage have become normal parts of his life.

"I remember vividly. I was in my parents garage. I had a rifle. I was going to go kill the man my wife was seeing. I was on a downhill spiral. It was either prison, me dead or somebody else dead," said Serna.

Serna has since learned to cope with PTSD, but it hasn't been easy.

He says psychiatrists are too quick to write prescriptions, which worsened his condition.

"Immediately he's recommend try taking this. Two things became three things. It was about a year before I could get in the VA and start talking to people."

Derrick Guty, a veteran counselor and vet himself says people don't often understand the severity of PTSD.

"If you can put yourself in someones shoes that maybe literally held a friend while they passed away. It's something very scary," said Derrick Guty, Veteran Counselor.

Guty says because Michigan has no active duty base veterans have to scramble to find services tailored to their needs.

"If there were programs specifically set aside to improve veteran services, I think that would be a huge way to reach out to veterans," said Guty.

"We have twenty-two veterans committing suicide every day," said Senator Debbie Stabenow (d), Michigan.

The answer may come from Senator Debbie Stabenow. She recently sponsored a bill to increase mental health services including those specifically for vets, which she hopes will get Serna and other vets the help they need and deserve.

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