LOCAL NEWS

Army Veteran Fasts 22 Days To Raise Awareness For Veteran Suicide

Sep 11, 2020, 5:33 PM | Updated: 8:42 pm

DRAPER, Utah — The 9/11 attacks were a call to arms for many Utahns eager to serve. Some of those warriors, who did their duty, now struggle with invisible wounds, like PTSD and thoughts of suicide. That’s why one Utah combat veteran is doing what he can to share hope for fellow veterans.

“It was an incredible experience,” said U.S. Army combat veteran, Kenny King.

King broke a 22-day fast Friday morning at the Vet Cave in Draper, a safe space for Utah veterans. He was inspired by fellow veteran Leonardo Oliveira, who previously fasted 22 days.

“I went 22 full days of no eating, just water,” said King as he sipped on bone broth.

The number 22 launched a movement to raise awareness for veteran suicide. In years past, that was how many veterans committed suicide on an average day, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. They have subsequently updated that number to 17, but King said a lot of veteran suicides are not tracked.

“One would be too many,” he said. “But that number is kind of a well-known number among the community of people who are trying to prevent those suicides.”

After he was medically retired from the army, King battled thoughts of suicide. He knows isolation can be the veteran’s worst enemy back at home.

“We feel already so isolated because the experiences that we’ve had don’t seem to resonate with those that haven’t had them,” he said.

His PTSD following combat led him to disconnect even more.

“I just felt like I couldn’t connect with myself anymore, and therefore, with others,” he King.

King said he was afraid to talk about suicide because he didn’t want to frighten everybody in his life. He now knows it’s critical to reach out to other war veterans to start talking about those thoughts as soon as they emerge.

“I had so many people that loved me,” he said. “I had detached from them, I had pushed them away, but I knew they loved me.”

King chose to keep breathing and keep living. He reached out to other veterans for help.

He recently found healing through the Heroes Haven, a Utah-based program aimed at helping veterans work through their trauma.

The VA also has many resources.

“The joy for living has been even brighter,” King said. “I’ve just felt so much clarity throughout this process.”

He said the fast gave him unexpected mental clarity and physical rejuvenation.

“Coming back to my true self,” the veteran said. “Really being in a flow state. I felt very centered; a lot of clarity.”

He also shared a message for other veterans who may be thinking about taking their own lives.

“It will get better. Just staying alive is enough, and if you can, try and reach out to another veteran,” he said.

King and many other Utah veterans are unwilling to leave any soldier behind as they battle mental health struggles here on the homefront.

“We will be with there for you (in) any way we can because people were there for us,” he said.

For more information and resources visit BeThereForVeterans.com.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

Suicide Prevention Resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Additional Crisis Hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
  • University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-300

Online resources

In an emergency

  • Call the police
  • Go to the emergency room
KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Matt Rascon, KSL TV

Pleasant Grove tattoo artist used work to help others before her murder

A mother who police say was shot and killed by her son in Pleasant Grove Thursday night, used her artwork as a tattoo artist to help others heal from past trauma.
1 day ago
USA Climbing competition in SLC on May 21st, 2022...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

World’s best climbers in SLC for competition

It's the perfect time for Salt Lake to be at the forefront of the sport’s popularity.
1 day ago
(Davis County Sheriff's Office)...
Merri Moeller, KSL TV

Murder suspect wished he’d used sharper knife in stabbings, court docs say

A man in custody after stabbing two women including a woman he’d met on Tinder made some chilling statements about the attacks to police, court documents show.
1 day ago
The scene of the South Jordan paraglider accident....
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Man flown to hospital in South Jordan skydiving accident

One man is in critical condition due to a skydiving accident on Saturday afternoon according to officials.
1 day ago
SLCPD confiscated an air soft gun after reports of the suspect pointing a rifle at people. (Photo: ...
Michael Houck, KSK TV

Salt Lake City officers respond to person pointing rifle at people

Salt Lake City police responded to multiple calls of a person pointing a rifle at people Friday night, only to find it was an airsoft gun.
1 day ago
Two men dead, three hospitalized after a North Ogden pursuit (Credit - North Ogden Police)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Two dead, three hospitalized after a North Ogden pursuit

Two men are dead after fleeing from a traffic stop and crashing into a tree in North Ogden Saturday morning, according to North Ogden police.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
Army Veteran Fasts 22 Days To Raise Awareness For Veteran Suicide