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DEVELOPING: Woman's Suicide a Result of PTSD

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LAWTON Okla_ We continue to learn new information about a woman who died following a short standoff with Lawton police last Thursday afternoon.

Lauren Haskins' husband confirmed that she was indeed a member of the United States Army, originally stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado. She was diagnosed with PTSD when she got out of the army just last year. 

Police were called to her home in Lawton last Thursday, after she had threatened suicide. She died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after police were unable to convince her to drop her gun.

7News Reporter Sara Whaley talked exclusively with Haskins' husband Monday about her battle with post traumatic stress disorder, and how it ended up getting the best of her.

Lauren Haskins was a medic in the army and deployed twice to Afghanistan, once during 2005 and 2006, and again the whole year of 2009. Her husband said both were rough deployments. He has experienced them himself as a rifle platoon sergeant. Haskins' husband requested 7News not release his name, but he did share some pictures and his personal insight.

He said Lauren loved painting, but it could never completely take her mind off her experiences in Afghanistan.

"She didn't like being around people," he said. "She didn't like being around crowds. She always felt like she needed some safety and security."

That security had been taken away as soon as she returned to the states. Because Lauren was a medic, she was attached to an infantry unit. When they got home, the unit went one way, and she had to go another. She was no longer around the people who shared her experiences.

"I know she felt a lot of alienation and felt like they really didn't understand. She hadn't seen them for a year. She hadn't worked with them in a year. She hadn't talked with any of them."

She also battled with the fact that she was one of only three women who were with that particular group.

"Because she was a woman, she felt like she always had to go the extra mile to justify what she did."

All of this made it very difficult for Lauren to cope. As her husband said, treatment was always a struggle for her.

"She didn't want to have to explain everything to somebody."

That was the feeling that ultimately took her life. While Lauren was never stationed at Fort Sill, 7News still visited the post today to see how it handles PTSD. Fort Sill started a resiliency training campus in 2010 to help soldiers understand the problem before it starts.

"If you know how you are thinking, then you can control it," SGT John Peterson said, "Helping you find that little bit of control that will help you make more accurate decisions."

Haskins' husband said it's not only control, but relationships that can save lives.

"Keep in touch with the people that you were deployed with actively. Go out and try to keep in touch with them."

A Fort Sill psychologist said on average, Fort Sill only has 3 suicides per year. He said they work to build a relationship and rapport with soldiers before even starting to address traumatic events. They also try to remind their soldiers that getting better can make them feel more uncomfortable, and just because it doesn't help the first time, they shouldn't quit.

The army saw a record number of suicides last year, with more soldiers taking their own lives than were killed on the battlefield. Just last week, the Secretary of the Army ordered commanders to begin working on a plan for better psychological help for America's bravest.

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