Local veteran raising depression & suicide prevention awareness - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Local veteran raising depression & suicide prevention awareness

Tousha Barnes Tousha Barnes

Amarillo, TX - Veteran suicide is a continuing problem across the panhandle and one local veteran is working to raise awareness and save lives. 22 veterans die of suicide each day and some of those men and women are here in the panhandle. 

Tousha Barnes served our country in Afghanistan, and when she came home she soon realized she wasn't the same. "The tornado siren went off in the middle of the night, I woke up to that siren and that triggered me to react like I was in Afghanistan," says Barnes.
   
She says she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and depression, and in her hometown she quickly realized there was not much help available to her. Tousha wants to stress PTSD does not just affect veterans like herself. She says sometimes it is hard for us to ask them the tough questions, like are you okay or do you thinking about hurting yourself? 
   
They need to know someone cares and Tousha says that someone could be you. "Someone needs to reach out to them, we can't continue to let 22 veterans die a day by suicide. So that is how the community can advocate for them."
   
Tousha is a mental health first aid instructor and the class she teaches is free to anyone. The Military Veteran Peer Network has partnered up with Black Dog Ride to raise awareness for mental health. The bikers from Australia are touring America and made a stop in Amarillo Wednesday night.  

The groups mission is dear to Tousha who says she wears a ring on her trigger finger to remind her of a friend she lost to suicide.
"I wear it as a reminder. I did have a friend, a veteran, who died by suicide, so interestingly enough, if you see this ring on a veteran it's our trigger finger."

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