Oregon: Vet Suicides Skyrocket

This part of the nightmare just keeps getting worse. VCS reports that more troops from Oregon are dying of suicide than from the war itself.

In 2005, 19 Oregon soldiers were killed in combat. In that same year, 153 Oregon veterans of all ages committed suicide.

The group facing the highest risk of suicide is veterans between 18 and 24 years old. Portland VA officials told The Portland Tribune that Oregon vets made almost 900 calls to the National VA Suicide Hotline in the last year.

I just don’t understand why people cannot get it through their heads that men and women coming back from the war MUST have a sophisticated and professionally applied debriefing period to learn how to cope with what they have seen and done. Is it because we still have this John Wayne, movie vision of what war is? Is it because we back home just don’t want to have to face it ourselves or admit how badly we’ve all screwed up?

Why state governments are not stepping up to the plate on this issue is beyond me. And I’m not talking about offering counseling or mental health, I’m talking about installing a mandatory program that each and every veteran must attend, be assessed, and if necessary receive further treatment – free of charge.

Forcing these brave young men and women to go and fight this dirty war – many having to go repeatedly and some being forced to go even after their enlistment ends – is bad enough. To not give them every possible chance for a successful return to civilian life is indecent and immoral.

Explore posts in the same categories: America, Indecency, Iraq, Lying Bastards, Military, veterans

4 Comments on “Oregon: Vet Suicides Skyrocket”

  1. buffalo Says:

    Veteran suicide has long been a problem. In ’91 five of my friends, all Nam Vets, chose to exit.

    The army, at least at Ft Riley has a rudimentary counseling program going for the returning troops.

    I hate being negative, but I haven’t seen much good done with the PTSD programs I have knowledge of. That includes in patient and out patient treatment. Maybe they’ve improved over the last 15 years.

    Don’t know how amendable the vet would be to mandatory anything.

    It is one hell of a problem. I hope to hell someone figures out what to do about it.

  2. Marty Says:

    There are programs in place. But, when soldiers return from theater they have to fill out a questionaire. If they indicate any emotional problems whatsoever, they are kept on base for further evaluation and not allowed to go home on leave. What would you do after 15 months in Iraq? Stay at the base or go home ? And even if they are to admit problems, they are oftentimes ridiculed and told to “suck it up”. I have a friend whose son came home really messed up. He refused to see mental health because he is a “lifer” , a NCO with 16 years behind him. He could not afford to be diagnosed with a mental problem and then perhaps be discharged or relieved of his command. Many of troops with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD are being diagnosed with a “personality disorder” and then medically or dishonorably discharged. With that diagnosis the military is not responsibile for your care. Plus, if you have a family to support you might think twice before owning up to emotional and or mental problems knowing what could happen to you if you did.


  3. Eight times more lethal than being in the line of fire. Jeebus that’s horrendous. Somehow I missed that, thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Bob R Says:

    Excellent post. It’s a terrible tragedy and these soldiers are also casualties of war. If people really “support the troops” they should also support programs to help them once they return home.


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