For thousands of veterans, the fight doesn’t end when you get back home; for some, its only beginning.

“I was depressed. Just hated the world, hated everything. Didn’t like how life was. Didn’t really choose to fix it,” revealed Chris Peterson.

Peterson is one of many suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Research shows about 22 veterans commit suicide every day. And in August, Peterson made a decision which changed his life forever.

“I pulled the gun out, went to pull the trigger, gun jammed,” Peterson explained.

This decision Peterson says is has led him to help others not make the same attempt he made.

“It’s good to share my story. And people actually see like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Because everybody thought I was, you know, I was solid. I was good to go,” said Peterson, “No one knew how bad it was. Here’s my story. Here’s what I’m going through, here’s what I’m gonna continue to go through. Here’s how I’m going to try to fight it.”

That’s when Peterson asked for help.

He says he called the local Veteran’s Association and opened up to his friends and fellow American Legion members.

“It’s harder for us, especially combat oriented groups. Military has such a structure, you know, ‘Hey,’ you’re being told to go do this. You wake up in the morning and you don’t have time to really stop and think. Now, being a civilian, you got all the time in the world to stop and reflect on what you did and what happened,” clarified Peterson.

The American Legion is working to launch a new movement called Be The One. This movement catapulted right here in Arizona.

“What we’re going to do to help

Be The One

is put one

Be The One

coordinator in each post in the state of Arizona, to be there to be able to answer questions, or point somebody in the right direction to get the help that they need,” explained State Commander of the Arizona American Legion Steve Sperl.

Sperl has made it his priority during his tenure as state commander to help get this movement off the ground.

“This is unprecedented in our organization,” said Executive Director of the American Legion Dean Kessel. “That’s a really, really, really big deal that they want to put a stake in the ground and say, ‘We’re going to commit to this.'”

Sperl adds that if you ask veterans if they know of someone who has taken their own life, 9 out of 10 veterans would answer ‘Yes.’

“The strength that we have while we’re deployed takes over. It’s when we come home, said Sperl, “And I can say that one of my comrades that’s in fact what happened is his wife left him and he just couldn’t take it anymore. And it’s unfortunate. God bless Scotty.”

But across the board, 22 veterans a day is 22 too many. Which Sperl says is why you have to start with one.

“Save one veterans life and that’s a good start,” shared Sperl.

Peterson says, this is how veterans win the war.

“Just spread the word that, suicide is a real thing. The numbers aren’t going away. The numbers will continue to be there,” Peterson said.

And while there is a long way to go. Chris Peterson is working every day to be the one.

If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health or are thinking about taking your own life, dial the Suicide Hotline at 988.

Or visit some of the following websites for more information on help that is available for you:

American Legion Veterans Crisis Line 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline American Foundation for Suicide Prevention National Institute of Mental Health National Alliance on Mental Illness