Saturday is Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness Day
Every three days Oregon loses a veteran to suicide.
It’s a shocking rate and significantly higher than Oregon’s already troubling statewide suicide rate, which is ninth-highest in the country.
That’s one reason why the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs is putting a lot of effort into making sure vets know there’s help available and that it doesn’t show weakness to ask for it.
The Veterans Affairs Office designed a poster with the hashtag “Not Weak” to reinforce to vets that it’s OK to ask for help.
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Veteran suicide is an issue that’s not unique to the Northwest, but it’s a very serious concern.
Vets account for 16 percent of the deaths by suicide in Oregon. The department said advocates are especially looking at the aging population – veterans 55 and older – who make up 60 percent of the state’s veteran suicide deaths.
"A lot of times people who are not well acquainted with this issue think it's sort of a young person thing. It's not," said Tyler Francke, with the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. "Suicide is an issue both for veterans and for non-veterans, just for the population in general, that cuts across all age demographics, all gender demographics."
Saturday, Sept. 22, is Veteran Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. It’s Saturday because September is Suicide Prevention month and the 22nd represents the 22 vets lost every day nationwide to suicide.