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Veterans and Military Behavioral Health


One in four Oregon veterans experience frustration in seeking care for mental health or substance use issues, according to a survey completed by more than 4,000 veterans.

Oregon is committed to helping veterans access the tools and supports they need to thrive.

The Oregon Legislature invested $3.1 million over two biennia toward veterans behavioral health. 

​June is PTSD Awareness Month and June 27, 2021 is PTSD Awareness Day.  According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault. 

Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.


Addressing the needs of Oregon veterans

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) commissioned a needs assessment study to identify challenges and opportunities for reforms. Produced by the Rede Group, the 2019 Oregon Veterans Behavioral Health Services Improvement Study:

  • Describes the availability of behavioral health services for Oregon veterans;
  • Provides findings regarding barriers veterans face in accessing behavioral health services; and
  • Recommends policy and other changes that may improve the accessibility and quality of behavioral health services for Oregon veterans.

The recommendations include proposed steps to strengthen services and outreach for veterans, including:

  • Reduce stigma about behavioral health issues to help more veterans feel comfortable seeking care.
  • Strengthen suicide prevention programs.
  • Improve care coordination for veterans and tailor services to better address the experiences those who have served in the military have faced.
  • Expand the number of peer specialists who have their own first-hand knowledge of veterans issues and can provide effective support.
  • Recruit more treatment providers to serve veterans.

Following these recommendations, OHA and ODVA held 17 community forums between August and October 2019 in fifteen different locations throughout the state. The forums gathered input from Oregon communities about veterans behavioral health needs and services.

View the study report (193 pages, PDF)  View the report highlights (PDF)  View the study findings (PDF)


  • Federal Veterans Affairs website - Mental health support services
  • ODVA website - Veteran services in Oregon
  • Make the Connection - is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives.

Program Contact

Emily Watson

Need Help?

Military Helpline

Staffed by veterans and others trained in military culture, the Military Helpline offers free and confidential crisis intervention with sensitivity to military-specific issues.

  • 1-888-457-4838. There is hope. Call now, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The Helpline understands what you’re going through and can help you sort things out privately. Whether it’s family issues, anger, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress or thoughts of suicide, call us. We won’t judge you and we’ll keep it to ourselves.

Veterans Crisis Line

Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are veterans themselves.

  • Call 1-800-273-8255 + Press 1, text 838255, or connect online to chat.  
  • Call 1-800-799-4889 to access crisis line deaf and hard of hearing support.