An Army medic from Arlington committed suicide this week, adding to the number of troops coming home from war who take their own lives.
According to the Pentagon, the number of military suicides had leveled off in the past two years. But 2012 has brought an upswing.
In the first half of the year, 154 active-duty troops committed suicide. That's compared to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase.
Jordan Riddle's family fought hard to prevent him from becoming a statistic. They said he left for Iraq five years ago and never really came home.
"He was angry. He was hurt," said Shannon Murphy, his sister.
"It was so seldom we saw him smile," added Tommy Riddle, his dad.
His family said he suffered from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. It got so bad his dad quit his job to try to manage his mental health care.
"The VA just, they dropped the ball," Tommy Riddle said.
Joyce King, a suicide prevention coordinator at the Fort Worth VA hospital, said the program there has made major strides in recent years.
"I don't think it's because they're not getting the care they need. The reporting is so much better so the numbers go up," she said.
Murphy said she tried to encourage her brother and get him to the gym, to a job or into school.
"We were each other's best friend. Not just my brother, my best friend," she said.
But despite the family's best efforts to help him heal, Riddle's mother said she knew his day would eventually come.
"I can honestly say missing him will not be as painful as worrying every second of every day," Sharon Riddle said.
The VA does have a crisis line for people who need to talk to someone immediately. Since it was implemented four years ago about 20,000 rescues have been made.
For more information, visit www.veteranscrisisline.net or call 1-800-273-TALK at any time.
KDFW FOX 4
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