August 06, 2017 11:01 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- A local veteran's family is hoping others will learn from his death and reach out to veterans who may be struggling with post traumatic stress disorder.
Joshwa Kauffmann committed suicide in June at the age of 31. His father Lenny said Josh struggled with PTSD for years.
"The signs were there for years, he said. "It's just, looking back, you can see them but at the time you couldn't."
Josh served in the Minnesota Army National Guard for 12 years, including two overseas deployments to Kosovo and Kuwait. Once he came home, there were signs of PTSD, Lenny said.
Nationwide, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 20 veterans commit suicide each day, 65 percent of whom are 50 years old or older.
It's a statistic that the Kauffmanns and others said shows more support is needed for veterans when they come home.
"There are resources that they can reach out for, but we as a state, and I'm talking about our National Guard here that we are responsible for as a state, we don't do anything active to follow up to check in with them, and I think that's very unfortunate" state Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester) said.
On Sunday, the Kauffmanns held a benefit in Rochester to raise money to cover Josh's funeral costs. A family friend also set up a GoFundMe page, which as of Sunday night had raised more than $4,200.
And for those struggling with PTSD or suicide, Lenny said he hopes they reach out and ask for help.
"(We) just need to let all these veterans, these servicemen know there is help," he said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There is also a crisis line for veterans and service members and their families at 1-800-273-8255, option 1. You can also text 741741 to talk to a trained crisis counselor.
Updated: August 06, 2017 11:01 PM
Created: August 06, 2017 09:10 PM
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