A National Institute of Mental Health study shows that 22 military veterans commit suicide every day and that number continues to grow. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the leading causes linked to that suicide rate.
In the hills of South Austin, a small group of producers, directors, actors, and veterans are using film to reach out to a growing number of veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD. The hope is that art will steer those suffering from this complex condition to many helping hands..
"We wanted to produce a movie that really worked with people that have dealt with tramatic experiences," Carla McDougal, executive producer of the film "Stronger", said.
From the boots to the blood everything on set is fake. However for thousands of veterans, it's a very real reminder of a life most can't forget.
"It's a story of redemption, it's a story of brokenness. Obviously we are trying to show that brokenness can be fixed," Ulises Larramendi, the lead actor in the film, said.
U.S. Army veteran Toby Nunn has seen first hand the affect it has had not only on those he served with but himself. Nunn is now on set using his experiences to not only share the story of thousands but to also help those seeking help.
"By doing this film and getting this message across, we're demonstrating, actively demonstrating that we can help in terms of the healing process." Nunn said, "We can help a rehabilitation, an opportunity to help someone take that next step forward."
A step that helped save his own life.
"I would not be here, working on this film today if it wasn't for that hope and knowing that i had that courage to step forward," he said.
The cast and crew have been filming since January and are planning to shoot through most of the summer. The release of the film is scheduled for February 2017.
McDougal said the entire film budget was funded through donations.
For more information on the film or how you can help, you may go to Strongermovie.com