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Military families cope with loved one's PTSD, mental issues

Resources like Grace After Fire offer lifelines


The family of Ivan Lopez, the Fort Hood shooter, as well as his victims, were on the minds of the women in a group session held by Grace After Fire, a Texas-based organization helping female veterans.

Melissa McKennon, a veteran leading the session, said military families must somehow cope with their loved one's post-traumatic stress or mental issues.

"We wish there were a magic pill to solve PTSD or mental illness, but there isn't," McKennon said.

Neighbors of the Lopez family in Killeen said after Lopez's wife learned of the shootings, she desperately tried to call her husband while holding their toddler in her arms.

"Not only is she asking why did he do this to others, but why did he do this to himself and to her family," McKennon said.

Paashka Prowell, an Air Force veteran diagnosed with non-combat related post traumatic syndrome after 9-11, said, "Unfortunately, something went very wrong. It's not unfortunate, we should be angry."

Although Lopez killed and injured others, Prowell said Lopez took his own life like so many military members in the wake of repeated deployments.

She said there should be more programs like Grace After Fire, and continued support for what they do.

Among the many local programs offering lifelines to military members and their families is the Center for Health Care Services.

Its spokeswoman Christi Mott said the agency has several on-going programs. She said its Veteran Services can be reached at 210-261-1401, and its 24-hour crisis line, 800-316-9241.

Links to other veterans services:

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.

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