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"I was suicidal," says Veteran Spc. Gigie Souffrant-Pierre. "My kids were in the next room."
It's a losing battle in an ongoing war. It is the fight with depression and suicide. For the first time, the number of soldiers who have taken their own lives is greater than the number of soldiers lost to combat in one year. 349 service members committed suicide. That number is up 15% in just 12 months.
"In all honesty, my mind frame in that moment was everything would be better if I just wasn't here," says Souffrant-Pierre.
While serving her country, the truck she was driving struck an IED.
"At that time I lost myself," says Souffrant-Pierre.
She came home with multiple injuries. As a soldier, she says she was not prepared with how to cope with her transition home. That is when the mother of 3 contemplated taking her own life.
"When I was going through it, and I was trying to make a plan to go through it, I knew this isn't me," says Souffrant-Pierre.
Veteran Sgt. Erik Hampton knows how difficult coming home can be. He was stationed overseas when his roommate committed suicide.
"Give me 100,000 IED's and I would gladly walk through them before losing my roommate ever again," says Hampton.
So what is being done to save our soldiers? The Tennessee National Guard is turning to technology to help. After seeing the number of soldier suicides skyrocket, Adjunct General Max Haston and Clark Flatt, founder of the Jason Foundation, created a phone app called Guard Your Buddy.
"You hit one button," says Haston. "All soldiers have to do is hit that one button. When you hit that button, a Masters degree or above educated clinician is on the phone."
To date, the Guard Your Buddy app has helped 42 soldiers who have been on the brink of committing suicide. It wasn't an app, but a support group that is helping both Erik and Gigie.
"You're conflicted on your morals and principals as a human being vs. being a soldier," says Hampton. "What the U.S. Military trained you for is not to have any emotions. You are taught to accomplish the mission at any cost."
Reboot Recovery is a 12-week program that helps soldiers dealing with the spiritual aspects of post traumatic stress. If you or someone you know needs help, we have a page with the information set up for you. Go to Fox17.com and click on FOX LINKS.
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