EUGENE, Ore. – Senator Ron Wyden is trying to address the growing veteran suicide rates in Oregon which is double the national average.
Spreading awareness was one of the issues touched on during Sen. Wyden's meeting with veterans and medical professionals Friday afternoon at the Veterans Memorial Building. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to reduce the veteran suicide rate in the state.
"In rural areas we've got a lot of our older veterans who are pretty isolated,” said Sen. Wyden. “We also learned that there was a sense among the veteran advocates that veterans didn't know about the availability."
Luke Norton served in the army for seven years. He said another contributing factor for the high rates is the stigma behind suicide.
“The stigma with suicide is talking about suicide, which causes suicide,” said Norton. “That's just simply not the case. Talking about it prevents it."
Sen. Wyden said in the U.S. one veteran commits suicide almost every hour.
Chairty Mcsperitt with VA Roseburg said there are plenty of resources in our area that veterans can utilize besides their local VA.
"We have the mission which provides a lot of services to our homeless veterans, along with St. Vinnies and catholic community services,” said Mcsperitt. “We have partnerships with Lane County and the housing authority."
Sen. Wyden said he plans on continuing the push for more services and resources for veterans at the nation’s capital.
"When they are on a physical or emotional tight rope and they're having challenges in their life and they feel that they just don't have any hope anymore we're going to be there for them," said Sen Wyden.