Brave New Foundation: In Their Boots Episode 23
Topic: Military Suicide Featuring: The War Within: Chapter 1
Originally Aired on December 3rd, 2008 and Will Continue on December 10th, 2008
The War Within
A Marine Reservist seeks help from the Veterans Administration to heal his invisible wounds. But like too many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, his condition worsens, his medical needs go un-met, and he ultimately takes his own life. For the past four years, his family has been advocating to prevent other veterans from experiencing a similar fate.
Dr. Judith Broder
The Soldiers Project
Jeffrey Lucey joined the US Marine Corps Reserves in December 1999 while attending Holyoke Community College. He was 18 years old. Three years later he was driving a convoy through the desert during the initial invasion of Iraq. While he returned home physically unscathed, Jeff was mortally wounded, suffering from PTSD/combat operational stress. “Jeffrey slept little, ate little, was restless, hyper-vigilant, confused, angry, and frustrated,” say his parents, Kevin and Joyce Lucey. “[He was] isolated in his mind, wracked with guilt, sadness, depression, rage; he was panicked, desperate, hopeless, overwhelmed, and full of rage, wanting to talk and yet at the same time wanting to be silent.” Jeffrey went to the VA twice for help, but didn’t get the care he needed. On June 22, 2004, 23-year-old Jeffrey Lucey decided he could no longer live with himself and took his own life. While his struggle has ended, his family’s is far from over.
Kevin and Joyce Lucey
Kevin, a therapist in Connecticut, and Joyce, a retired nurse, are the parents of three. Jeffrey was their only son. Ever since Jeff lost the battle with his PTSD, Kevin and Joyce have been advocating for the establishment of a realistic and efficient healthcare system, especially for veterans dealing with invisible wounds, like post-traumatic stress disorder. Part of that advocacy involves a lawsuit they’ve filed against the Veterans Administration for medical malpractice and wrongful death.