PTSD linked to soldier's 3 suicide attempts, family says
'I do not want my son to become a statistic, but that's what's happening'
The family of a soldier from Halifax is afraid for his life as he struggles with what he believes to be an undiagnosed case of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kim and Steven Dixon say their son, Cpl. Thomas Dixon, has tried to kill himself three times since June. Most recently, he tried to end his life in an Edmonton military jail.
“My son, he was always army. Growing up [in the] cadets, he loved it,” Kim Dixon said. “Then he went over to Afghanistan. That's when things turned around for him.”
Dixon's parents saw the change in their son almost immediately when he came home.
“He came back, he was very moody, he had a temper — all the signs you would see of people who have PTSD,” she said.
Married, with four children
He was assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder, but never diagnosed.
Dixon is married with four children.
He told his mom stories about how Afghanistan changed his life
“He was telling me he was over there and he went jogging and the Taliban was shooting at him he had to stay in the sand for at least an hour before someone came to pick him up,” she said.
Dixon's trouble with the military justice system started this past summer. He attempted suicide by cutting his wrists
His parents say he begged for help, but didn't get it.
“Tom got up and walked onto the middle of Gottingen Street, heading for the bridge to jump. They charged him for that,” she said.
Dixon was convicted of four charges in a summary trial: two counts of insubordination for swearing at an officer, and for lifting his fists to the same officer. He was absent without leave and caused a disturbance.
He was sent to Canada's only military prison, in Edmonton, for 21 days
Days after starting his sentence, Dixon tried again to end his life.
“He tried to hang himself with a t-shirt,” his mother said. “He's crying out for help and nobody's there. I do not want my son to become a statistic, but that's what's happening.”
CBC News asked the Department of National Defence for a comment about Dixon's situation, but no one returned our calls.