With the downsizing of the Armed Forces in 2008 and 2014, Veterans Affairs has been inundated with an influx of veterans. Along with this influx, Veterans Affairs reported in 2012 that veterans’ suicide rates have increased with 22 veterans committing suicide each day. Seeing the great need, Samaritan Health Services has launched a program that provides advocacy to our veterans and their families.
Samaritan Veterans Outreach provides military veterans with resources, support and advocacy for optimal health and social well-being. We will provide the resources needed or will work with our community partners to find answers.
Before serving as a veterans navigator at Samaritan, I served six years with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, first Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton, California. During that time, I was a corpsman, or “doc,” and deployed twice to Iraq. After graduating from Oregon State University, I brought my passion for serving veterans into my current role at Samaritan.
Veterans often lose their sense of identity, purpose and camaraderie when they discharge out of the military. Samaritan Veterans Outreach wants to help build these among veterans and family members in our community. We hold biweekly peer support groups and monthly community service events. The peer support groups cover topics such as triggers and how to manage them, among others. Each of our community service projects has a military connection through the location we volunteer at, including places like Fort Hoskins, Camp Adair and the Crystal Lake Cemetery.
Samaritan Veterans Outreach is happy to explain how your medical insurance works. One of the biggest requests thus far has been with Veterans Choice Insurance, which allows veterans to be seen in the community. Many disabled veterans have received a card, but still need to check their eligibility before seeking care. As a navigator, I can help streamline this process if a veteran is eligible and interested in seeking community care.
Samaritan Veterans Outreach is a program that is based on the needs we hear from the community and through proven healing modalities. For example, organizations around the country, like the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, have shown how art positively affects patients. Because of this, Samaritan Veterans Outreach will be holding a number of ArtsCare events for our veterans and their families in 2017.
We would love to hear from you. If you are a veteran or family member and have a question, issue or suggestion, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-768-7800.