Veterans shed light on mental health and other struggles on Veterans Day

Veterans are talking about what goes on behind the parades and the flags and the sacrifices they make to serve our country.

Posted: Nov 11, 2019 6:39 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- Today is a day of parades, flags and honoring veterans for their service, but veterans are coming forward to discuss what goes on behind the scenes.

"I'd say about 90% of my veteran friends have depression, PTSD, two of them have taken their lives," said Mckenzie Johnson, an Army veteran.

The statistics prove what Johnson said. Even though less than 10% of people in Lane County are veterans, they account for 25% of all suicides.

"You just kinda feel lost. You just have all this drive, and you know what you need to do everyday, and there's nowhere to put all that energy. So then you kinda just start separating yourself from people. And they don't understand," said Camren Baker, a Navy veteran. 

RELATED: HUNDREDS GATHER FOR DOUGLAS COUNTY ANNUAL VETERAN'S DAY PARADE

But veterans said many of them are also struggling with getting good jobs when transitioning back into civilian life. 

"Since I can't put the knowledge I have to use, I have to find a job regardless, so I went to working a minimum wage job with a paycheck that was half of what I was making," said Johnson. 

Lane County provides disability services, health care benefits, outreach programs and more, but Johnson said getting services is more complicated than just walking in and seeking help.

"When you finally get to them they're great, worth it, but it's hard to get to them 'cause of how many veterans there are and how little amount of resources there are," Johnson said. 

But veterans said that Veterans Day is a day that they appreciate every year. 

"It's just nice to know that people do care, that they are actually thankful for what we've done," Johnson said. 

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