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Frankie Barretto

is a suicide attempt survivor.
this is his story

Frankie Barretto

is a suicide attempt survivor.

"I survived a suicide attempt."

Frankie Barretto left a troubled home life to join the U.S. Army and fell into a deep depression after being discharged for a knee injury. I interviewed him in New York, NY, on February 19, 2012. Suicide is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. military. Here, he discusses some of the issues we face with reintegrating soldiers into society.

I was in the Army with so many people and I got out right out before everything happened.

Frankie Barretto is a suicide attempt survivor.…I know people, I’ve lost friends that went over to Iraq and Afghanistan. I know people that have gone over and come back and they are not the same. The Veterans Administration, they are doing, in my opinion, they are doing a hell of a job to address these issues, and I’m seeing it firsthand just by the way that they’re treating me. They actually care.

A lot of the soldiers that come back that I speak to, they’re involved in so many different programs to not only help them acclimate back into society, but to help them deal with these emotions and deal with the PTSD and the ticking time bomb syndrome and all of the other things, ‘cause they saw a lot of things over there that the public is not privy to at all, and that stuff will definitely scar you for life. So, being a soldier and knowing people that went through that and losing people that were really close to me because of all of that, that’s something that I’m very passionate about…

I think the biggest problem is the disconnect between society and the soldiers. Society does not understand what these soldiers go through. That’s why you have former Marines and former Army servicemen getting shot and killed by police and getting locked up, and you hear it more and more every day because they’re labeled as crazy.

They’re like, “Oh, these crazy soldiers are coming back.”

The thing is, a lot of them don’t know that there’s help available for them. They just come back and they just try to live their life and they’re dealing with so many things. So I think, like I said, there’s a huge disconnect between how society sees it and what it really is…

They see what they see on TV and they’re thankful that the soldiers go over there and give their lives for our freedom, but when the soldiers come back, they’re stigmatized and they’re labeled as crazy and it’s not fair. It’s not fair to them at all…

A lot of them, they just internalize it. They have that soldier mentality. Like, ‘I’m a soldier, I can survive anything.’

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About Live Through This
Live Through This is a series of portraits and true stories of suicide attempt survivors. Its mission is to change public attitudes about suicide for the better; to reduce prejudice and discrimination against attempt survivors; to provide comfort to those experiencing suicidality by letting them know that they’re not alone and tomorrow is possible; to give insight to those who have trouble understanding suicidality, and catharsis to those who have lost a loved one; and to be used as a teaching tool for clinicians in training, or anyone else who might benefit from a deeper understanding of first-person experiences with suicide.
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Tax-deductible donations are made possible by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, which sponsors Live Through This. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Live Through This must be made payable to Fractured Atlas only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Please Stay
If you’re hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources below. Someone will reach back. You are so deeply valued, so incomprehensibly loved—even when you can’t feel it—and you are worth your life.
Find Help

You can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Trans Lifeline is at 877-565-8860 (U.S.) or 877-330-6366 (Canada). The Trevor Project is at 866-488-7386. If you’d like to talk to a peer, contains links to warmlines in every state. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world. If you don’t like talking on the phone, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

NOTE: Many of these resources utilize restrictive interventions, like active rescues (wellness or welfare checks) involving law enforcement or emergency services. If this is a concern for you, you can ask if this is a possibility at any point in your conversation. Trans Lifeline does not implement restrictive interventions for suicidal people without express consent. A warmline is also less likely to do this, but you may want to double-check their policies.

Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.
Live Through This is dedicated to the lives of so many friends and family members lost to suicide over the years. If you would like to add the name of a loved one to this list, please email me.