KUSA - It's estimated that nearly 20 out of every 100 vets who served in Afghanistan or Iraq will suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. The Department of Veteran Affairs says that's a higher rate than the Gulf War and for Vietnam vets.
Corporal Jason Sydoriak is a Marine combat veteran. He served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. During Sydoriak's third and final deployment, he and his fellow Marines were on their way to try and ambush the enemy, when their Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. The blast penetrated his foot and shattered several bones. Sydoriak was no longer able to fight and was sent to the VA Hospital in Bethesda to recover.
During Sydoriak's stay in Bethesda he received the Purple Heart and was greeted and thanked for his service by President Obama. He says he knew he wouldn't be able run again and would experience some pain while walking. What he never expected was the injury he never knew he had.
"I was a little bit more agitated in classes. I really didn't want to connect with people," Sydoriak said.
He was eventually diagnosed with PTSD. He said he sought treatment and has been managing it well. But over the course of his treatment, he said he found one of his new missions. He now tries to spread the word among fellow soldiers that seeking help is not a bad thing. He says many soldiers have a stigma around mental health treatments. He says they feel as though they're not strong enough.
"It's a wound so get patched up and get back in the fight. Go get help. There's nothing wrong with that," Sydoriak said.
Sydoriak is part of an organization called "The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America." He says they're working with Congress on a bill that would prevent veteran suicides and focus on mental health.
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