HOUSTON — Local veterans said they are losing more friends at home than they did while serving overseas fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, on National PTSD Awareness Day, a Houston-area nonprofit is working to make sure veterans know they are not alone.
Two brothers at Camp Hope told KHOU 11, that they reunited as veterans thanks to their recovery.
"I literally reached out to my brother, I hadn't spoken to him in years and he finally answered the phone," Josh Mayor said.
He and his big brother, Jeff, were raised in Oklahoma. They both joined the Marines and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. After that, they went their separate ways, both struggling with PTSD.
"For months, I lived under a bridge in downtown Tulsa, still using obviously, that was my coping mechanism, and I just got to the point of suicide," Josh said.
When he hit rock bottom, Josh knew who to call.
"I remember answering the call and being like: 'What do you want? Here we go again.' But he sounded like he was ready," Jeff said.
Jeff was already at Camp Hope and a year ago, Josh joined him.
"Words can't describe that, at the end of the day I take zero credit for that, it's all him," Jeff said.
However, the road to recovery hasn't been easy.
"I can't see any more of my friends commit suicide. I've lost far too many from my unit," Josh said.
From Josh's unit alone, he says 21 Marines were killed in action, but in the years since coming home, 45 have died by suicide.
"America is not paying attention," said David Maulsby, Executive Director of the PTSD Foundation of America. "It's very common around here for guys to say, 'I've lost more guys at home than I ever did overseas.'"
It's why what they do at Camp Hope is so important. The brothers said they're living proof.
"I do have a better perspective on life, the fact that I do have a relationship with my brother has been phenomenal," Josh said.
The PTSD Foundation has a helpline you can call at 877-717-PTSD.