Veteran Posts Mace Challenge Video for PTSD Awareness

Veteran Posts Mace Challenge Video for PTSD Awareness

A veteran posts video of his version of the ice bucket challenge with a few alterations to spread awareness of PTSD.
SHERWOOD,AR--Chances are you've heard of the ice bucket challenge, a nationwide movement, raising awareness and millions of dollars for ALS research. Now, a Central Arkansas man is using its success to bring attention veterans battling post traumatic stress disorder.

When someone challenged Rhett Batanides with the ice bucket challenge he immediately thought of another deadly issue that hits close to home.

"He was a real funny guy to be around, great kids," Batanides says, describing a friend he lost too soon, to suicide.

"A terrible thing I never saw it coming," he says.

So when a friend challenged him to pour a bucket of ice on his head to raise money for patients with Lou Gehrig's disease, Batanides accepted with a twist.

"This is for my friend who recently took his own life," he says in the video, posted to Facebook. "This is the mace and Waterboard challenge"

Batanides describes the feeling as if he had hot peppers in his eyes.

"Imagine putting that in your eyes and pricking your eyes with needles it's painful and you wouldn't wish that on anyone," he says.

Much like the impact of PTSD, which took his friend.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 22 veterans commit suicide each day. That's nearly one every hour and the reason Batanides says he went to the extreme.

"PTSD is torture for those I've talked to that have it. It's mental torture. I was trying to show that in a way I made up in my mind," Batanides explains.

He's not asking others to duplicate his challenge, but to do something to help the veterans who face challenges every day.

"Just trying to get it running through people's minds it's a real thing we need to draw attention to it and we need to reach out and help those affected by it," he adds.

FOX 16 does not recommend trying this challenge for safety reasons.

If you want resources to help veterans, contact your local Veterans Affairs office or find resources here.
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