Two Army Families Deal With PTSD, and Suicide

Families battle on the front lines against post-traumatic stress disorder.

ByABC News
April 12, 2010, 7:25 PM

April 14, 2010— -- In addition to the insurgents who fight from the hillsides before vanishing into caves in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army has fought an equally elusive and silent enemy here at home: suicide.

Many family members of soldiers returning from their deployment with post-traumatic stress disorder say the stigma associated with seeking psychiatric help has hurt their cause.

Last year marked the fifth consecutive year the Army experienced a record number of suicides in its ranks.

As with thousands of soldiers before them, and thousands more likely to come, Maj. Chris Galloway and Master Sgt. Jim Haus returned home tormented by their experiences at war.

"His behavior was really changing a lot after Afghanistan," Haus' wife, Amanda Cherry-Haus, said. "He was drinking a lot ... he would do all these reckless, endangering things that were obviously PTSD and say, 'No, I don't have a problem.'"

Galloway's wife, Shannon, said, "I was sensing depression and I was sensing probably some PTSD and I talked to him about it, and he was like, 'No, no, no. The Army says I'm fine. I'm fine … You're the crazy one.'"

Chris Galloway, a 36-year-old father of three, did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Haus, 40, served in three wars in his 22-year army career.

Both wives said they saw differences when their husbands came back from overseas.

"Something happened to him over there that totally changed him," Shannon Galloway said.

She said her husband, after months on edge in a combat zone, was unable to adjust to the different pressure of life at home. She said their marriage frayed as she pleaded with him to seek help.

"We're the ones that live with them ... and we are there when they wake up at night freaked out because of some dream or because they can't sleep," she said.