New York (CNN)Last fall, Jason Kander was considered a rising star in the Democratic party.
The U.S. Army combat veteran had served as Missouri's Secretary of State, nearly beaten a Republican incumbent for a U.S. Senate seat in 2016 and was the front-runner in the race for Kansas City mayor. There was even talk of him running for president.
But Kander made headlines when he suddenly dropped out of the race to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. In a public letter to his supporters, he admitted it was a step he'd avoided for years.
"I was afraid of the stigma. ... But it's just getting worse," he wrote. "So, after 11 years of trying to outrun depression and PTSD symptoms, I have finally concluded that it's faster than me. That I have to stop running, turn around, and confront it."
He ultimately got help from the Veterans Community Project, a Kansas City-based nonprofit co-founded by Chris Stout, a 2018 Top 10 CNN Hero. The veteran-run group is known for providing tiny homes to homeless veterans. But it also assists all former servicemembers with issues like jobs, transportation and mental health.