Waterford soldier who died by suicide suffered from PTSD, wife says

- A week-long desperate search ended with a wife and two children receiving the news they'd been dreading -- 54-year-old Command Sergeant Major David Folsom, who had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder had taken his own life.

Folsom's wife says he left their Waterford home the early morning of July 13 with his wallet, keys and his gun.

Belinda says her thoughts grew darker as each day passed as police and volunteers searched.

Folsom's body was discovered Wednesday night in a heavily wooded area near his home.

"Just being strong for my kids and military wife - that's what you do," Belinda said.

Trying to help her husband work through his PTSD, Belinda says not only was he a loving father, but a respected military man.

"I just wish he would've taken that into consideration but that PTSD -- it's nasty stuff," she said.

Dr. Michelle Sharp, psychologist and PTSD program coordinator at the VA hospital in Detroit, says sometimes symptoms of PTSD are easily recognized but often, they aren't.

"Sometimes people may have difficulty connecting or relating to other people. They may have difficulty going out, or doing things they used to do prior to," she said.

Other symptoms include experiencing reminders or flashbacks, insomnia and nightmares, negative changes in beliefs or feelings, trouble concentrating, and avoiding things or places that may trigger a memory.

These symptoms can last a month or longer.


"Instead of being to move forward or recover, it's kind of entrenching things a little bit more," Sharp said.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 20 veterans who die by suicide per day.

Of those 20 veterans, on average, only six receive health care and of those six, only three receive mental health services.

"That's something the military reinforces - to be independent, to handle things on your own but treatment is effective," Sharp said.

While anyone can suffer from PTSD, Sharp reminds everyone that resources are available:

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