Oregon Veteran Suicide On The Rise

7-12 vetsWHITE CITY, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority recently released a study that said suicide is the number one cause of death for Oregon veterans under 45 who likely served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

On average, from 2008 to 2012, veteran suicide increased from about 40 suicides per 100,000 people to nearly 50.

The study showed that out of all the people who died from suicide in the state in that same time span, 23 percent were veterans.

Researchers also found that factors like homelessness, unemployment, and alcohol and substance abuse were higher in these cases. Existing mental health issues, physical health problems, and relationship problems were also linked to the veteran suicides.

The study showed 97 percent of veteran suicides are men, and Jackson and Klamath counties were two of six counties in the state with higher than average veteran suicide rates.
The VA facility in White City said staff is aware of the increase, and has been taking steps to try to lower those numbers.

Psychologists at the VA are constantly looking for risks factors, and are also trying to educate the community about the issues.

“[We are] getting out there and talking about suicide. Not only with veterans, but in our community, and informing people, not only civilians but police officers and other veterans about warning signs of suicide and what to do basically if you’re concerned that somebody that you love might be considering suicide,” said SORCC’s lead psychologist Matthew Blakeley.

Some of the warning signs to look for are depressed behavior, unhealthy or reckless lifestyle choices, and alcohol or substance abuse.

Health professionals at the VA also encourage people to take advantage of the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, text 838255, or log onto the Veterans Crisis Line website to have confidential contact with health professionals.


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  1. PaddyO says:

    Article shows how statistics can be used to raise emotions. Restated, the article could have said that in four years, only 1 more death per 10,000 could be attributed to veteran suicide. I doubt that would raise any emotion. Looks like the author is just trying to discredit the military.

  2. William Heino Sr. says:

    Contributing factor.

    Disabled veterans according to Oregon and the United States Supreme Court.

    Oregon resident, disabled Air Force veteran Peter James Barclay in protecting his VA disability compensation from a State court ordered spousal support, was denied his Constitution rights by Oregon’s State Supreme Court. And further, the refusal of the United States Supreme Court to consider his May 2, 2012 petition, requesting, “The Court Should Grant Review to Determine Whether State Courts Are Erring as a Matter of Law By Preempting Federal Law with State Law Federal Law, by Considering VA Disability Pay Divisible Under State Community or Equitable Distribution Laws.”
    (Oct 1 2012) Petition was DENIED.

    Oregon’s statutes outline their many references in compliance with it‘s supposedly “due process” observance and adherence to federal law. Perhaps these laws pertain only to specific situations in Oregon law? Which means Oregon courts have decided “due process” means law applies to certain individual decided case law, case law that does not include disabled veterans.

    34 § 411.837¹ “Compliance with state and federal laws required”
    10 § 409.040¹ “Federal law supersedes state law.”
    26 § 279A.030¹ “Federal law prevails in case of conflict”

    Compliance to federal law would start here. 38 USC 5301 Nonassignability and exempt status of benefits, is the federal protection of the disabled veteran’s VA disability compensation. “(a)(1) shall not be assignable… shall be exempt from taxation, .. creditors, ..attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary.”

    The Linn County Oregon Circuit Court and Oregon Supreme Court decision was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in denying Peter Barclay‘s petition, in seeking Constitutional property right protections. This only confirms that, when it comes to disabled veterans, and service-related disability compensation issues, laws do not matter, they are not applicable, and therefore offer no protection by either federal or Oregon law.

    The United State court of appeals, in VETERANS FOR COMMON SENSE, VETERANS UNITED FOR TRUTH, INC., v. ERIC K. SHINSEKI, December 13, 2011, in refusing to exceed their jurisdiction, ruled, “As much as we may wish for expeditious improvement in the way the VA handles mental health care and service-related disability compensation, we cannot exceed our jurisdiction to accomplish it,.. veterans seeking the prompt provision of the health care and benefits to which they are entitled by law, as judges we may not exceed our jurisdiction.” Oregon’s State court judges as well, are not in any legal position to exceed their jurisdiction.

    In cases involving VA disability compensation one has to look at a ruling by the United States Supreme Court. Mansell v. Mansell, 490 US 581, 594-95, 109 S Ct 2023, 104 L Ed 2d 675 (1989), “..concluded that, under federal law, state courts cannot divide military disability benefits as marital property in marriage dissolution proceedings.” However, as illustrated, this does not stop the United States Supreme Court, they have no problem when it comes to “service related disability compensation.”

    From the publication titled, READING LAW. The Interpretation of Legal Texts. Scalia/Garner-West. “[M}ost [Lawyers and Judges] tell a story about legal interpretation that is simply a scam…The truth is, there is no such thing as “just following the law”. Every judge, every lawyer, every interpreter always makes the law, never finds it, when reading legal text. And their personal views inescapably play a central role in the making.“

    It wasn’t disabled veteran Peter Barclay, or the thousands of other disabled veterans that received any benefit of the law, or the expense in hiring a lawyer, in pursuing their costly VA disability compensation property rights claim to court, or to any higher court!

    Unfortunately, after all court posturing and legal responses, references, making their legal point, to the detriment of all disabled veterans, missing was the federal question, “Federal courts repeatedly have declined to assert jurisdiction over divorces that presented no federal question.” See, e. g., Ohio ex rel. Popovici v. Agler, 280 U.S. 379 (1930).” In Barclay v Barclay there was a federal question! A question of “clear and substantial major damage” to federal interests. Something that no court or lawyer wants to acknowledge or pursue for the obvious reasons.

    The issue is VA medical disability compensation, the property rights of the disabled veteran, in what VA medical doctors, medical professionals have determined a disabled veterans injuries should be compensated for. As evidenced, State court judges continue to ignore the disabled veteran and the law. “Separation of powers” doctrine is mandated to end this attempt by the state courts to manipulate, overlook, and circumvent the law. Law, both state and federal, as shown, that is out of reach for many disabled veterans.

    Realizing laws protecting VA disability compensation as exempt, the courts, in matters, identified as exempt, are beyond the courts jurisdiction, under a “separation of powers” doctrine. A State court has the responsibility and the obligation to uphold the State Constitution. “The powers of the state government shall be divided into legislative, executive and judicial branches. No person belonging to one branch shall exercise any powers appertaining to either of the other branches unless expressly provided herein.”

    Forgotten are the rights of the disabled veterans. The separation of powers doctrine imposes the assumption that the state court, in attacking the disabled veterans legal right to claim as exempt, requires subject matter jurisdiction over federally mandated VA disability compensation benefits. The court has the sworn duty and responsibility to enforce federal law.

    State court judges, acting like doctors, holding themselves as qualified, as a provider of VA medical health care. How are judges allowed this non-life threatening discretion? Policy making outside their jurisdiction of constitutional boundaries in re-evaluating and considering long held established VA protocols, of a disabled veteran‘s VA disability compensation for purposes other than rehabilitation and health of the veteran. Substituting their judgment, for the so called “police power” right to interfere with vested property rights to protect the health, and general well being of the disabled veteran? For that of the judgment of VA doctors and medical professionals, in securing for the veteran, his or her earned disabled veteran’s VA disability compensation. The blatant disregard of the 14th Amendment, to further degrade disability compensation property rights, “..once they are delivered to the veteran..,” and the best interests of the disabled veteran, runs afoul of the “separation of powers” doctrine and the United States Constitution.

    “It is well established that disability benefits are a protected property interest and may not be discontinued without due process of law.” See Atkins v. Parker, 472 U.S. 115, 128 (1985); Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332 (1976)”

    As a veterans advocate, a Korean era veteran, I am neither disabled or in any divorce action. The reality of law from the disabled veteran’s view,… it’s criminal.

    William Heino Sr.

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