Mother works to end stigma surrounding PTSD - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mother works to end stigma surrounding PTSD

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When Carol Cassedy wrapped her arms around her son in 2003 she hoped the worst was over.

"We really didn't notice a change in him mentally at that time," said Carol Cassedy.

Her son, Sean Cassedy, had been shot and crushed in combat in Baghdad. But little did anyone know for Sean the worst part of war was still to come.

"We began to see an evolution of his personality. He was becoming more withdrawn and paranoid. He would suffer from delusions," said Carol.

The Marine Corporal deployed to Iraq two more times, and by 2008 spoke to WDRB about digging out from the darkness.

"You'll lose family, friends and love ones by pushing them out of your life," Sean said.

Fast forward five years, on the day after Mother's Day 2013, Sean Cassedy drove himself to the VA hospital in Louisville and shot himself in the head.

"Oh, I couldn't believe it," Carol said. "I had just talked to my son that morning; he was fine. "He succumbed to PTSD. It is an extremely devilish thing to treat."

Now Carol has launched a new mission. She's speaking out about suicide prevention, and mental health services for veterans and even gained the backing of Kentucky's first lady.

"Between 18 and 25 veterans commit suicide everyday and that's frightening," said Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear.

Together, Carol and Jane are fighting the stigma that PTSD is a sign of weakness and promoting awareness for the services that are available.

"I hope this calls others to wake up," said Beshear.

Carol says she's not angry at the military.

"People will hear about this and get involved and prevent this from happening to another family," Carol said.

She was born on a base and most of the men in her family have served.

"I want to remember Sean as a funny, brilliant and passionate man," Carol said.


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