Veterans struggling during outbreak

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — By now you’re probably familiar with the term social distance.

Experts are telling us to keep staying about 6-8 feet apart from each other to help slow the virus’ spread.

But it’s hard to be so isolated, particularly, for veterans.

VFW’s everywhere are closed, per the governor’s order, leaving veterans suffering with mental illness all alone during this scary time.

“In the veteran community isolation is a killer and that’s what we fight against each and every day,” says Jeremy Harrell, a combat veteran.

Harrell now runs a support non-profit organization, the Veteran’s Club in Louisville.

“My fear as a person who runs an organization where we work with veterans who have PTSD and suicidal thoughts everyday, I worry that’s gonna get confused with isolation,” says Harrell.

He made a poll on Facebook to see what veterans were struggling with most at this time; mental health, child care, lack of income or food insecurity.

“By a long shot it was mental health. Just the anxiety of not knowing when this is gonna be over,” says Harrell.

He doesn’t want that statistic, 22 vets commit suicide a day in the nation, to increase anymore.

“Social isolation doesn’t mean to cut yourself off from the world and we’re lucky in the way that we have all these different platforms electronically to communicate and I just want to encourage them to do that,” says Harrell.

He also encourages vets to build a routine every day, to focus on accomplishing something.

And he asks veterans to remember they’re resilient.

“We’ve been through worse and we’re conditioned for this. I know when I was in Iraq we had nothing right. We were in the middle of the desert in a wool tent,” says Harrell.

He wants vets to cling to each other right now, from a distance.

Harrell says nobody can do this life alone.

If you’re a veteran struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the Veterans Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

You can also reach out to the Veteran’s Club by clicking here.

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