Suicide rates among veterans remains devastatingly high — 18 a day. And the Oregon National Guard has the highest rate of suicide of any military organization. One theory is that this is because many veterans are isolated in rural areas. So it isn’t easy to get help at a Veteran Center or VA hospital because that could mean driving one or two hours. Same for getting together with any of your fellow National Guard buddies. And in many cases the local community isn’t even aware that a combat veteran is living down the street, much less what support he may need.
In response to a similar situation, the Minnesota National Guard launched the Yellow Ribbon Community Campaign. Basically, this is a contract that groups and institutions in a given community enter. A model we could all learn from.