AUSTIN — A soldier living in Lockhart is using his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder to give other service members hope through a documentary called Frozen in War.
Andrew O’Brien tried to kill himself when he returned home from Iraq by overdosing in 2010.
The reason I attempted suicide was I felt alone, I felt weak for feeling the way I did, said O’Brien.
O’Brien says his best therapy is sharing his story, and he’s doing it at military installations across the country. You can find more information here.
I ll speak to a crowd of 100 soldiers and out of that 100, ten will come up and tell me their suicide attempt story,’ said O’Brien.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
Director Estephania LeBaron has followed O’Brien around the country for the past year, filming his journey of helping others. She has completed 20 minutes of the Frozen in War documentary and hopes to finish it this year. The goal is to screen it in theaters across the country and start a conversation.
It is so rewarding for me, said LeBaron. This helps the conversation begin.
LeBaron and O’Brien are raising money on Indiegogo to complete the documentary.
The founder of the Opus Project, nurse practitioner Deborah Grassman, is part of the documentary too. Her organization is focused on helping veterans heal. She started the group after working with 10,000 service members in hospice care, realizing they needed help and healing before the end of their life.
It s one thing to witness trauma, which all of our soldiers have, it’s another thing to have caused the trauma. That s a deeper level of injury, and it’s harder to come to peace with a deeper level of injury, said Grassman.