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Jason Kander Pulls Out Of Kansas City Mayoral Race To Treat PTSD

Jason Kander ended his campaign for Kansas City mayor on Tuesday to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a candid Facebook post, the former Missouri Secretary of State detailed the struggles he’s been facing for 11 years, since leaving his tour in Afghanistan as an Army intelligence officer.

Kander said that after much hesitation, he decided on Monday to go to the Kansas City VA Medical Center to start getting regular help for PTSD. He decided to pull out of the race to focus on his health. He will also step away the day-to-day operations of Let America Vote, the organization he started to fight against voter suppression, but was insistent that it would move forward in his absence.

Kander said it took time for him to admit to his struggles. He didn’t think he could have PTSD, insisting that others faced greater danger than he did when in combat. To convince himself, he wrote in his book, “Outside the Wire,” that he was lucky not to have the condition.

“I was afraid of the stigma,” he said. “I was thinking about what it could mean for my political future if someone found out.”

But Kander still had nightmares and still suffered from depression. He avoided it further by working more and running for mayor. Now, he’s reached a new point.

“I have to stop running, turn around, and confront it,” he wrote.

He said that he decided to go public because the honesty would help him move forward, as well as to encourage anyone struggling, veteran or not, that he or she does not have to solve it alone.

This isn’t goodbye, he vowed. Once he’s worked through his mental health challenges, he intends to jump back into public service.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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