Throughout this summer, Multnomah County has been raising awareness about mental health in our community through a public outreach campaign. Now, the County is expanding its message to share the story of another group: veterans.

Nearly one in four active duty service members show signs of a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness(link is external). Veterans are also five times more likely than civilians to experience depression. In September, buses throughout Multnomah County will shed light on the connection between military service and mental health.

Multnomah County’s Department of County Human Services is leading the campaign. Every year, the Veterans Services team meets with nearly 2,000 veterans and eligible family members to assist them in filing claims for state, local and federal benefits. Veterans are more likely to experience mental health issues because of:

  • Trauma experienced on the job

  • Difficulty transitioning to civilian life

  • Separation from family and loved ones

  • Difficulty joining or creating community

To encourage discussion about mental health among those who’ve served, each bus advertisement uses a portrait to tell a story. There are three designs, each one reflecting a different member of the veteran community. The banners provide the Mental Health Call Center phone number.

“It’s important for our community to be aware of mental health challenges in the veteran community and to be able to access County resources to help someone who is struggling,” says Kim Douthit, who supervises the Veterans Services program.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health issue, contact the 24/7 Mental Health Call Center at 503-988-4888. Anyone can visit the County website(link is external) to learn more about mental illness and how to talk with someone you’re concerned about.