SAN ANGELO, Texas- It’s the season of love, family, and Christmas cheer. But, for many U.S. veterans, the holiday season can be a difficult one.
“We traditionally see those as times of getting together but a lot of veterans, a lot of active duty service members don’t have that luxury, they don’t feel like they have a family there for them,” said Luis Martinez, with Disabled American Veterans.
This is one of the many reasons why veteran suicide rates increase during the holidays. This a scary statistic when small-town San Angelo rates keep up with those of larger Texas cities.
“12 to 15 veterans a day come to me with that issue so roughly by the end of the month I’ve already seen 150 to 160 veterans who are fighting depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts,” said Martinez.
Ending each month with an average of four service members taking their own life here in the Concho Valley. Air Force veteran Rosa Marie Rodriguez, tells us of a difficult time she went through when serving.
“I deployed during the Christmas time and it sucked. It was horrible because we have our family back home here and my husband was also here at the time,” said Rodriguez.
In the season of favor and grace, she encourages her fellow brothers in arms and civilians to practice showing kindness as many struggle to navigate the season.
“We go through a lot, we have a lot of battle wounds that people can’t see, and sometimes we don’t know how to say ‘hey I need help’, so just be kind and show some support,” said Rodriguez.