Sister Believes Oklahoma Soldier May Have Committed Suicide

Friday, August 21st 2009, 1:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The military searches for clues in the death of a Claremore soldier.  His sister believes Specialist Matthew Hastings could have taken his own life.  She says her brother took pills for depression, and nine months in Iraq may have taken its toll.    

Matthew Hastings' sister says her brother loved being a soldier and he was so excited to be deployed to Iraq, but she says a long tour of duty and the deaths of several people close to him might have been too much for the 23-year-old.

It still isn't known what caused Hastings' death. But, his MySpace page gives some disturbing insight into his state of mind.

On August 16th, the day before he died, Hastings wrote: "By the time you read this I'll be gone, hanging out with Clark. Taking the coward's way out. Sorry, love ya'll."

Hastings has a picture of his older brother, Clark Hastings' tombstone on the page. 

The next day, the day he died, Hastings wrote: "I'm sorry everyone. Please forgive me God for I know not what I do."  His mood was listed as:  "going to see CH."

"These guys, men and women, are having a very tough time.  And, understandably so," said Mike Brose with the Mental Health Association.

Brose says depression, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse is a growing issue for returning veterans.  And, Tulsa's mental health community is rallying to fill a growing need.

"This isn't just the VA's job. This is all of our jobs. And, we're finding people in the community that we talk to totally get that and they really want to help," said Mike Brose with the Mental Health Association.

He says civilian and military doctors are working to do better by our veterans.  And, he says families need to be aware of the battle scars they can't see, even from the toughest among us.

"It couldn't happen to that person. I know that person. Things happen to people. This is a tough business these men and women are in. And, we just need to do everything we can to wrap ourselves around them," said Mike Brose with the Mental Health Association.

Brose says if you or a loved one needs help with depression you can call the Mental Health Association at 585-1213 or 211.

If you're concerned about a loved one serving overseas, he advises you contact the military family liaison.

8/20/2009 Related story: Claremore Soldier Dies In Iraq