Veterans have options, assistance available here
According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the suicide rate for veterans in Nebraska is 47.8, higher than the national average and higher than the rate for the midwestern region's area which includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Statistics like those prompted the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department (NeNPHD) to look at ways the department could help veterans, even without being the place to offer services.
"The VetSet program started a couple of years ago," public health director Julie Rother said. "It started with 'no wrong door' training."
No wrong door, Rother explained, means that even if a certain entity that is approached can't help that veteran with his or her needs, they know who to refer them to.
While Rother sees veterans struggle with a lack of information on what is available to them, veterans service officer (VSO) Bradley Wieland said the problem he often faces is simply getting veterans to come in.
"The biggest problem I have is just getting those men and women to come in," Wieland said. "There are programs available but every vet has a different need."
Wieland's office is filled with binders full of program opportunities through the V.A., but those are useless without a veteran.
"We have a disability program, an educational program, emergency situation help, but if a veteran doesn't come in and talk to me to see how I can help them, I can't."
Read the full story in our newspaper this week.