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Oregon legislators tackle suicide among veterans

November 10, 2017
In The News

Oregon's legislators are looking to address what they call is an overlooked problem plaguing our military veterans - suicide.

Government studies show veterans are about 22 percent more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population. It's 2.5 times more prominent among women who have served.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici talked about tackling the epidemic Friday during a visit to the Veteran's Hospital in SW Portland.

One wife of a Cold and Gulf wars veteran said her husband suffers from major depression and PTSD, and has considered suicide more than once.

"He opened the car door. and started out of the car. I was driving 70 miles per hour. He said, 'It's just too much I can't take it anymore,'" Barbara Besand recalled.

Her husband survived that day. Besand now volunteers to help veterans and their families make sure they're getting the care they need.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working on using predictive models, which look at risk factors so providers can intervene early and treat veterans before it's too late.