NJ a National Model for Helping Veterans [AUDIO]
Although Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has officially been ruled out as a factor, the recent Fort Hood shooting has raised new questions about the mental health of America's soldiers. Wednesday, the head of the New Jersey National Guard told the Assembly Budget Committee that the Garden State is setting the standard when it comes to helping veterans.
"In this day and age we're doing more for our returning veterans than we've done for any other generation of returning veterans," said Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff, New Jersey's Adjutant General. "Specifically, for PTSD in New Jersey we fund a vet-to-vet hotline which is available 24/7 to our veterans and their families."
According to Cunniff, New Jersey may be the only state that offers mental health counseling to the family members of veterans, as well as the veterans themselves.
"We're one of only seven states that offers additional state-funded programs for our veterans to talk to another veteran or be referred to a health care professional if they need it," Cunniff said. "The number of calls since 2006 has more than doubled. Currently I think we have about 12,000 veterans and about 400 family members taking advantage of that counseling."
Every generation has had to deal with battle fatigue or PTSD, according to Cunniff, but he said it is probably more widely reported these days. New Jersey has never had a soldier-on-soldier attack.
The vet-to-vet hotline number is 1-866-838-7654. For more information go to www.state.nj.us/military/