After 2 years with no suicides, 4 Oregon Guard take own lives in 2013

EUGENE, Ore. - No Oregonians serving in the National Guard killed themselves in 2011 or 2012.

So far in 2013, suicide has claimed the lives of four citizen soldiers.

On July 28, Brady Hammer, 24, died of a self inflicted gunshot wound in Texas.

Earlier in the month, Chad Fike, 22, commit suicide in his Clackamas apartment.

Clifford Auvil V, who served in Iraq from 2010 to 2011, died in March at his home in Stanfield.

Nicole Silva, 20, killed herself in a Salem hotel on January 5.

"There are no military bases in Oregon. The difference for our veterans is when they come home they return to our communities, and they're amongst regular neighborhoods," said Michelle Lowery with Lane County Health and Human Services. "What they lose is the camaraderie of folks that have been where they've been and done what they've done."

Approximately 6,400 men and women serve in the Oregon Army National Guard.

The Oregon National Guard is composed of three major divisions: the Joint Forces Headquarters (Salem), 41st infantry Brigade Combat Team (Clackamas), 82nd Troop Command Brigade (Clackamas).

According to the 2012 census information, there are 32,693 veterans in Lane County.

In Oregon, there are 328,000 veterans.

Of the state's suicides, 27 percent involve veterans.

"Connectedness, mental health issues, access to lethal means, stress are all factors that impact suicide," said Sandy Moses, a suicide prevention specialist with Lane County. "It's not just one thing. It's not just being a veteran. It's not just having access (to a weapon). But, when you layer a lot of the risk factors together, then you increase the risk for suicide.

"Seeking help is OK," Moses said. "All of us need help at one time or another. It's a human condition, and we should really try to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and treatment."

Help is available:

Veterans Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (press 1 for Veterans)

Eugene Vet Center
190 East 11th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401