Military veterans and suicide: How to help before it's too late

Ricky Holmes, a United States Marine, was 22-years-old when he committed suicide. (Family photo)

The family of a veteran who took his own life is sharing his story in hopes of saving others.

Ricky Holmes, a United States Marine, was 22-years-old when he committed suicide.

"He grew up in North Providence and West Warwick," said Ricky's father, Russ Holmes.

Ricky's stepmother, Sherry Holmes, described him as a gentle giant.

"He was always so kind to everyone,” Sherry said.

Russ shared similar sentiments.

"He was a happy-go-lucky kid with the whole world in front of him," said Russ.

The Holmes family said Ricky served on several U.S. military bases over the course of three years and a knee injury abruptly ended his military career.

Loved ones believe he was suffering from undiagnosed depression, anxiety, and possibly PTSD.

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Data,

more than 6,000 veterans have committed suicide every year between 2008 and 2016.

Family members confronted Ricky about drinking and partying, but overall thought he was alright until October 24, 2017.

"He was found across the street from the Jamestown Police Station on the golf course. He had stabbed himself over 100 times,” said Russ.

Ricky had only been home for about two months.

A V.A. report released earlier this year noted that in 2016 veterans accounted for 14 percent of suicides nationwide even though they only represent about 8 percent of the U.S. population.

"Call the suicide prevention hotline, or even 911, or a friend. We're fighting a war and our weapon is words. You can use words to try and tell someone to stop, pause, and think about the future."

Ricky's family and Christian rock band “Crimson Rain” will host a benefit show in Ricky's honor.

The show will take place at the Upper Room Coffeehouse at 1221 Main Street in West Warwick Saturday starting at 7 p.m. Proceeds from CD sales and donations will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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