EUGENE, Ore. -- One out of every four suicides in Lane County is a veteran. It's a staggering statistic that has community members trying to help meet the mental health needs of former servicemembers before it's too late.
On Friday, Lane Community College hosted training to help people identify and respond to veterans in crisis.
Stany Munaku, an LCC Pubic Safety Officer and certified Mental Health First Aid trainer, said traumatic experiences don't stay on the battlefield. Munaku, a veteran himself, said traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder are all too common. Munaku said this can cause a crisis situation for a veteran lasting as long as 24 hours.
Zack Roush, who works in the veteran center at LCC and attended Friday’s class, said he wanted to be better at recognizing and responding when veterans need help.
“I like to be better prepared for how to handle these situations or handle them properly and most appropriately…de-escalate if need be,” Roush said.
The content of the course is compiled by Mental Health First Aid. One of the tactics taught is the acronym “ALGEE”.
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
Munaku said noticing small signs of trouble can make a big difference.
"Nine times out of ten, it's a crisis that can be mitigated to save a life," Munaku said.
You can read more about the Mental Health First Aid program here.