CASCO (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Kelly Ela suffered from PTSD after helping recover drowning victims while serving in the Coast Guard in her early 20s. A diagnosis of lupus forced her out of the service with a medical discharge.
After moving back to Maine with her family, she battled severe depression.
She tried ending it all by shooting herself with a .22 rifle. The mother of three survived after the bullet narrowly missed her vital organs. Ela is now sharing her story in a video called "Life is Worth Living," sponsored by the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services. Ela who volunteers as a veteran's advocate hopes the video will encourage veterans to seek help. She says surviving suicide helps her connect with other veterans battling their own demons.
"It grabs them in, and I become friends and talk with them a lot. It pulls them out. I have five stopped so far," said Ela.
To view the video "Life is Worth Living" watch here:
There are a number of resources available for veterans who have had suicidal thoughts or struggle with depression.
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255
- Veterans Crisis Line text service: Text to 838255
- Lifeline for Vets: 1-888-777-4443
- Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services: www.maine.gov/veterans