A Clarksville, Tenn., pastor says communities need to do more to reach out to soldiers and their families affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide.
Steve Estep is senior pastor of Grace Church of the Nazarene. He’s part of a movement to get more community members to recognize combat stress and soldiers at risk for suicide.
“As many churches as we have in Clarksville, there aren’t a whole lot that are really focusing on this. And I think the more soldiers that come back," said Estep. "The more that get out of the army who settle here, we’re going to have to be better equipped to deal with their issues than we have in the past.”
Fort Campbell Chaplain Jeff Hawkins says only about 30 percent of soldiers and their families live on base, and many veterans are more comfortable speaking with their pastor than the base chaplain. Estep and other local ministers recently held an event for volunteers to learn more about counseling soldiers. The U. S. Army confirmed six suicides at Fort Campbell in 2011, and 12 so far as of September this year.