Digital First: JSU alum releases book to raise awareness about veteran suicide

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Jackson State University alum wrote a book, detailing his story about how he became homeless after graduating from college. Tamarcus Lott wrote and self-published the book, “Degreed and Homeless.”

The autobiography shares experiences about Lott’s personal life, his time in the military and being homeless. While approaching finals week of his senior year, Lott received news from his mother that she had been evicted.

“She was evicted. It’s ironic, because I end up homeless. She was evicted thus not giving me anywhere to go,” said Lott.

He was then faced with tough decisions concerning his future. With graduation quickly approaching and his time on campus coming to an end, he made a choice to join the army.

“I originally signed to do four years. Four years, get out. But someway, somehow, I only ended up serving a year. I got out with an honorable discharge, and I can’t tell you how you got to read that in the book. I detail it. I talk you through that story,” stated Lott.

He enlisted to serve active duty. While serving, he struggled with emotional conflict.

“I didn’t hate the army. I hated being in the army. It was not for me. That’s not my passion. I never wanted that. In active duty, you don’t turn the army off. It’s 24/7. You listen to the platoon sergeant, the drill sergeant, you take your orders and you do what you’re told. Black and white. There’s no wiggle room to be an individual, so you have to strip yourself of a lot by being in active duty. You travel. You’re not seeing your family. It’s just so much stress on your body, your mind and everything. By the time that you separate and you discharge, you’re a whole new person.”

While homeless, he couldn’t help but reflect over the unfortunate events leading him to this point in his life. Lott decided to write a book to raise awareness for homelessness and veteran suicide.

While in basic training, Lott witnessed his bunk mate being placed on suicide watch. He said, “Our battle buddies in basic training made fun of him because he was on suicide watch. Like imagine that somebody making fun of you at the lowest part of your life where you want to take your own life, and people are teasing you about it.”

Lott said he wants to see the army change the way suicide and sexual assaults cases are handled. For every copy of his book sold, a dollar will be donated to the Stop Soldier Suicide Nonprofit Organization.

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