Service held Monday for Mankato Army therapist who committed suicide

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A memorial service is planned Monday for U.S. Army psychologist Peter Linnerooth, a former Minnesota State University, Mankato graduate student and vocal advocate for helping soldiers who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, who returned from Iraq suffering PTSD himself.

The Bronze Star-winning Linnerooth, 42, took his own life Jan. 2, in Mankato. The service is planned for 11 a.m. Monday at the National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Linnerooth had been an affable, punctual and conscientious graduate student at Mankato, but he returned from Iraq scarred and was a paranoid and disorganized assistant professor, the Pioneer Press reports.

Linnerooth was credited with helping hundreds of soldiers cope with mental health illnesses during his Army career, but could not find solace himself, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.

Time magazine has a lengthy profile of Linnerooth, noting that he spent five years in the Army, including the bloodiest 12 months in Iraq at the height of a troop surge.

His most important job as a mental health official was to keep soldiers from killing themselves, and he spent another two years trying to help vets in California and Nevada, Time reported.

In a 2009 story in the New York Times about the toll war takes on military therapists, Linnerooth spoke about a man he had treated whose duties included recovering soldiers' bodies.

Linnerooth was the lead author of a 2011 article on professional burnout among military therapists, published in the American Psychological Association journal.

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