Chairman Ball Announces Expansion of Peer-to-peer Veterans Counseling program to Putnam and Westchester Counties
Brewster, N.Y. – (7/25/13) –Senator Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson) Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee has announced funding for the continuation and expansion of the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Counseling program to Putnam and Westchester Counties.
The Dwyer Program provides “peer-to-peer” counseling between veterans who personally understand the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Since its inception in last year’s budget, the program has been operating successfully in four test counties: Suffolk, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Jefferson. This innovative direct counseling program will now be funded for veterans in seven additional counties including Westchester, Putnam, Nassau, Erie, Onondaga, Orange, and Rockland.
The PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Counseling program will be administered by the Veterans and Mental Health Departments of Westchester and Putnam Counties. Senator Ball will be hosting his first informational meeting for Putnam and Westchester County on August 1st to begin the program.
“During these extremely tough economic times and tight budgets, I thank my colleagues who I worked with in partnership to secure these critical dollars for Putnam and Westchester Counties. This great program will positively impact countless lives. With the rising number of returning veterans suffering from ailments like traumatic brain injury and post traumatic brain injury, we must do everything in our power to give our returning troops the services and programs that they need,” said Senator Greg Ball, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. “The expansion of the Dwyer program to Putnam, Westchester and five other counties in the state will allow even more veterans to receive these services to help them transition back into civilian life.”
Federal Veterans Administration statistics show that up to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghan war veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm), and 30 percent of Vietnam veterans experience PTSD.
“As New York’s veterans worked courageously to protect our freedom, many have faced physical and mental traumas that will last with them long after they return home,” said Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean G. Skelos. “I would like to thank Senator Greg Ball for his efforts in bringing this program to Putnam and Westchester Counties. The expansion of the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Counseling Program will help veterans share their experience and facilitate healing so that our bravest service members can receive the understanding and care they deserve.”
“Having this funding included in this year’s state budget is a huge a win for our veterans whose lives are significantly impacted by the effects of PTSD and TBI,” said Senator Zeldin, who also still serves as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves. “Countless veterans have already benefitted from this unique program and its expansion means even more will have the help they need to make the adjustment back to day-to-day life. Our veterans provide an invaluable service to the people of New York, risking their lives every day to protect the freedoms we cherish. I thank Senator Ball, who joined me in the fight to bring this program to Putnam and Westchester Counties, for sending the message that the health and safety of our honorable veterans are a top priority.”
Senator David Carlucci, Chairman of the Senate’s Mental Health Committee, said, “When it comes to treating veterans with PTSD, it’s clear that we need to continue investing in novel approaches that deliver positive results. The PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Counseling program is exactly that type of initiative. By providing counseling services from a brother or sister in arms, the Dwyer program breaks down barriers between counselor and patient and provides the type of care that many veterans truly need. I’m pleased to work with my colleagues including Senator Greg Ball to bring this program to Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and four other counties.”
“A handful of counties in New York already have this program,” said Odell. “It is vital that we, too, have a program like this so our veterans can learn to understand just what PTSD and TBI are and can do. Working with their peers who have the shared experience of dealing with these disorders will undoubtedly aide our veterans in their recovery.”
“Westchester needs to do everything it can to help our veterans get the care they need. We look forward to working with the state to get this new program started in Westchester. I commend Senators Zeldin, Carlucci and Ball for their dedication to our veterans who served our country selflessly and courageously,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino during a May press conference announcing the program in Westchester.
“The most complex organ in the body is the brain. The emotional scars of war can be just as serious, if not worse, than the physical scars and many of our veterans have both,” said Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith, a retired Brigadier General in the U.S. Army. “I would like to thank Senator Ball for bringing this program to Putnam County. It is so important that we take care of those who have marched to the sounds of the guns and have returned home bearing the scars of war. Our grateful nation must never forget those who fight for our freedom and our way of life.”
Eugene Parotta, chairman of Ball’s Veterans Advisory Council and two time Purple Heart recipient said, “Returning veterans have difficulty transitioning to civilian life and sometimes don’t realize the affects of PTSD until years down the road. I am so grateful that Senator Ball has been able to secure funding to bring this program to the Westchester and Putnam area. This will give all our veterans a great program to use that will allow them to speak with peers and work though the affects of PTSD.”
For more information contact Joe Bachmeier at Joe@ball4ny.com or (845) 531-9796.