According to Terry Sheridan of WSHU Radio, Long Island freshman Congressman Lee Zeldin is introducing legislation that would create nationwide “peer to peer” counseling for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s based on a program he helped create while in the New York State Senate that’s already up and running.
Zeldin said the program in New York has helped more than 1,500 veterans struggling with PTSD.
The goal is to allow returning veterans who suffer from PTSD to talk to other combat veterans, in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Zeldin, a veteran himself, said too many returning veterans feel they have nowhere to turn. A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that on average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
“I have lost more people I know after their service as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, than people who I know that I lost in combat,” he said.
Zeldin, a Republican, believes he will have bi-partisan support for the legislation. The peer counseling would be run by veteran services groups with federal funding. The counselors would receive training, but Zeldin emphasizes it’s a non-clinical program.
What a fantastic idea from Congressman Zeldin. This is a long time coming and it is certainly something that needs to be implemented throughout the United States.
Of course this is something that Sharp Decisions and the Sharp Decisions V.E.T.S. Program supports; we support all efforts to get our veterans the necessary help they need to successfully reassimilate back to civilian life after deployment. But this is not enough, it is certainly a step in the right direction, but corporate America must step up to take on a bigger role in providing veterans with career opportunities. We’ve found career opportunities helps alleviate some of the stressors of PTSD.