Suicide Among Veterans Receiving Less Attention Than Active-Duty Deaths

Staff Writer | | September 30, 2012

Many family members noticed dramatic changes in their loved ones after they returned from the war and before committing suicide.

NEW BRAUNFELS —After coming home from Iraq, Ray Rivas’ life had become a grind of rehab and chronic pain from a brain injury. On that morning in July 2009, he told his wife he hadn’t slept the night before — the headaches that had plagued him since a mortar shell exploded near him three years earlier often robbed him of sleep.

But Colleen Rivas said her husband was in good spirits as he drove away from their New Braunfels home.

“He left with a doughnut in his hand and a smile on his face,” she said.

Instead of going to his vocational rehab session at Easter Seals in San Antonio, the 53-year-old Army Reserve lieutenant colonel drove to Brooke Army Medical Center and overdosed on sleeping pills in a parking lot. A suicide note was found with his body.