Ian Fishback’s death highlights veterans’ mental illness crisis

In July 2019, Major Fishback informed Mr. Garlasco in an email that the CIA was after him, he recalls. “I was like, man, call me.” Major Fishback was in Europe with a new post. “He said, ‘I’m going to give classified information to foreign governments if you don’t get rid of the CIA.’ This is where I lost track.

Work in Europe collapsed later that year.

Major Fishback returned to Michigan, but a series of fighting there led to a court-ordered treatment stay, which he violated. He was arrested after an argument during a football match with an ROTC officer in September. Then came a series of stays in low-cost group homes while friends attempted to get him into a veterans hospital in Battle Creek.

“It was horrible listening to him there,” Ms. Ford said. “He was crying. He said, ‘Can you help me? I can’t trust my family.’

His friends started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for a high-end treatment center in Massachusetts. He began to speak slowly in phone conversations, said Ms Ford, who attributed him to high levels of mind-altering drugs.

In an email, a patient coordinator for Veterans Affairs who saw him on Thursday described his appearance as “alarming,” noting that the once-fit Army major could barely walk and his “arms were outstretched. locked in a 90 degree position and he never changed his facial expression throughout our conversation.

“He had breakfast on Friday morning,” Ms. Ford said, “and later they found him dead.”

The Battle Creek Institution called its sister that day. Ms Jorgensen said she replied: “It is too late. He left.”

“We are saddened by the loss of Army veteran Ian Fishback and extend our sincere condolences to his family,” said Terrence Hayes, spokesperson for the department. “VA has been in contact with the Fishback family to offer support and all the appropriate services to help them during this time. VA remains committed to ensuring that all Veterans receive the care they need in a timely manner.

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