A 2023 VA report found that suicide is now the second-leading cause for veterans under the age of 45.

Tucson-based filmmaker Frances Causeys new film, Final Fight: When the Trauma of War Comes Home, delves into the difficult topic of military suicide, profiling soldiers who struggled with PTSD and looking for solutions to this tragic situation.

The film, which recently won Best of Show at this years Impact DOC Awards, comes at a time when military suicides are climbing. This is due to a variety of reasons, from depression to substance abuse. But Causey found another surprising explanation:

One of the things that we discovered in the making of the movie, Causey says. Is that so much of the problems right now, that the military doesnt have an answer for, is related to undiagnosed brain trauma.

Final Fight

investigates the issue of brain trauma that can result from repeated exposure to explosive devices. Causey spent the past two years interviewing service members across the country about the issue.

Dr. Aubrey Rodriguez, a clinician and Program Manager for Mental Health Rehabilitation Therapy at the Tucson VA, says that while shes seen an increase in brain injuries among soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, its difficult to find the exact cause of military suicides.

It is a little bit harder to tease apart from the other things that go along with it, Rodriguez says. The mental health concerns that may come up with the blast injury, as well as the chronic pain, which we know is a pretty strong predictor for suicide risk.

The VA encourages any veteran in need of help to call the Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 988 and pressing 1.

Final Fight

will be released April 9th on Amazon and DVD. Causey will also host a showing of the film at the Screening Room later that night.