Oregon lawmakers urging for more to be done to prevent veteran s - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon lawmakers urging for more to be done to prevent veteran suicides

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

One day before Veterans Day, three Oregon lawmakers were back in Portland discussing the high rates of suicides among military veterans in Western states and what could be done to find solutions.

Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Suzanne Bonamicci and Earl Blumenauer came to the VA Center in Portland Friday to give their encouragement and support while also to push for more to be done to help vets who are struggling.

The trio of lawmakers noted suicide rates in the West are seven percent higher than the rest of the country. A lack of doctors in remote areas, increased isolation for vets suffering from PTSD and limited access to mental health care are believed to be some of the primary factors.

The three also said the expansion of the Veterans Crisis Line and increases in mental health services for women, including telehealth medicine, are moves in the right direction.

They feel more is needed, though, and veterans agree.

“I would say more outreach. keep that continuing, as well as educating the civilians who work with the veterans, especially here in the hospital,” veteran Erin Miller told FOX 12. “I think more of an outreach, more of an understanding of where the veterans are and where they need to be at, and how can we get them there.”

Wyden joined nine of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, saying they support the work and want to help address this public health crisis.

All three Oregon lawmakers mentioned the importance of Lines For Life Friday. Earlier this year the Portland-based service was named as the backup for the national Veterans Crisis Line.

Lines For Life can be a big support for current service members and veterans. Anyone looking for help can call 888-457-4838 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week - for free, confidential and anonymous help.

People can also text MIL1 to 839863 for support.

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