Fort Hood tackles suicide issue during stand down - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Fort Hood tackles suicide issue during stand down

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By: Chris Cheng

FORT HOOD – So far this year eight Fort Hood soldiers have killed themselves and officials are looking into seven other deaths as potential suicides.

To combat the issue, Fort Hood took part in a service-wide stand down, Thursday, to teach their soldiers about suicide prevention.

But the problem of suicides is not Fort Hood's alone, the Army has seen 116 suicides up to July; numbers for August and September have not been released.

The numbers were so bad in the month of July, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Lloyd J. Austin III, ordered a stand down.

"This is an epidemic in the Army and everyone surrounding it as well so any one who has any sort of attachment is susceptible," Michelle Keffer said.

Keffer is an actress who uses her art to teach soldiers how to deal with situations linked to suicide.

"The message we are trying to get across is it's not weak. It doesn't make you less of a man, less of a woman, less of a soldier, less of a person to admit you are having problems," Keffer said

Sgt. John Razza was one of the soldiers who attended Thursday's play and said he knows the struggle that many soldiers deal with.

"I went through a lot of things with depression and anxiety, I lost a couple family members when I came home from deployment back to back you know so I went through a lot," Razza said.

Razza admits for nearly two years he thought of taking his own life, until he found the courage and reached out for help but it did go according to plan at first.

"You know I did ask to get help, I didn't get the results I wanted at first in Iraq but I got the help afterwards," Razza said.

After month's of nightmares and sleepless nights, he made one final attempt to get help and spoke with a chaplain.

"He got me the help I needed, you know if I didn't, I don't know where I would be today, if I didn't get the help I got," Razza said.

Razza hopes others follow in his suit and get the help they deserve.

"Just don't be afraid to speak up don't be afraid to go up to someone and say hey I need the help coming from experience from someone who has been depressed and whose thought about it got the help I needed its out there you can get the help," Razza said.

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