A Medal of Honor recipient is back in Oklahoma talking about the importance of mental health.
Sgt. Ryan Pitts of Lowell Massachusetts was given the Medal of Honor for the courage and bravery he displayed in Afghanistan in 2008 after being wounded in an attack.
Yet what he saw in Afghanistan didn't scare him nearly as much as what he felt at home.
“The first time I ever called the VA and said I need to talk to somebody; it was harder than anything I’ve ever done.
Pitt said he suffered from depression and got help.
“My invisible wounds have been harder to physically live with than the physical wounds,” said Pitts.
Which is why he now urges fellow veterans, active service members, and their families to not to battle mental health issues alone.
This week Pitts- is back near Fort Sill where he went to basic training for the formal unveiling of the first Steven A Cohen Military Family Clinic in Oklahoma.
Professionals at the Lawton clinic have been meeting with Oklahomans through tele-health for the past year.
The Cohen Veterans Network, a not-for-profit organization now has 19 clinics nationwide with five more planned for next year.
“We are trying to get ahead of this problem. We are trying to remind veterans and active-duty military veterans that when you need help raise your hand and we will be there,” said Cohen Veterans Network President and CEO Dr. Anthony Hassan.
“It is much more than post-traumatic stress disorder. There is anxiety, there is military sexual trauma, there's depression. But these don't have to be permanent barriers to happiness and healthy lives,” said Pitts.