Assemblywoman Jaffee Calls for Improved Mental Health Services for NYs Veterans

November 9, 2010
As Veterans Day approaches, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) continues her advocacy on behalf of veterans. Its time to provide New York's veterans with the mental health care many need to readjust to civilian life, said Ellen Jaffee. During combat our service men and women face some of the harshest conditions imaginable. We owe it to those who serve our country to provide the services needed to overcome the trauma of combat.

Assemblywoman Jaffee wants the state to pass a bill she is co-sponsoring (A5993-A), which would provide grants to train social workers in diagnosing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other combat-related mental health problems, including substance abuse.

Just one year ago, Ms. Jaffee convened a roundtable on homelessness among women veterans, which addressed a range of obstacles women veterans face when returning home from service. All who testified agreed that we lack the services to help veterans make the transition to civilian life; the bill Jaffee is cosponsoring would help close that gap.

Many veterans return with memories of combat that can lead to depression, substance abuse, and homelessness. Often it is difficult to discuss these conditions because few professionals are properly trained to counsel veterans. Volunteer Counseling Services (VCS) of Rockland is among a handful of organizations that offer counseling programs for veterans. VCSs program, Vets for Vets, trains veterans of previous wars to counsel the veterans and active soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars who return to our community. This service is free of charge and is anonymous.

Veterans who wish to learn more about Vets for Vets can check out the web site at http://www.vetsforvetsrockland.org, call VCS at 845-634-5729 or visit VCS at 77 South Main Street, New City, NY 10956.