Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome A Huge Problem, Says NJ General [AUDIO]
Most Americans would agree we owe more than just a debt of gratitude to our troops returning home from the global war on terror.
We owe it to our soldiers to be there if they need help adjusting to civilian life back home. New Jersey is doing more than almost every other state in one area, but still says National Guard Adjutant General Michael Cunniff, "We do have a huge problem with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)."
Due to privacy issues, Cunniff explains, "It's hard to get numbers on it, but I think there are about 7,000 veterans in the state right now undergoing some type of (PTSD) treatment."
PTSD services in New Jersey are currently contracted out to a little over a dozen contractors within the state when the veterans identify themselves through the Yellow Ribbon program. 30 days prior to a deployment the soldiers are brought together with the Yellow Ribbon support services. The same thing happens 30, 60 and 90 days after returning home.
"If they do identify themselves there, they do go into counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome with these agencies, but over 20,000 people from the state have deployed in the last ten years," says Cunniff. "So, we amongst ourselves have talked about the future of our veterans' homes. Do we need to add that kind of service to them?"
Since 2008 the state has provided anywhere between $1.1 million and $1.5 million in funds for PTSD services and that's not only a big deal, it's very, very rare for a state to step up like that.
"The $1.1 million, $1.5 million that the state provides is what the state provides," explains Cunniff. "Most of our resources come through the federal VA agencies to pay for these counseling sessions for the individual or groups, but I have to commend the state. We are one of three states that adds money to the federal funds for PTSD. Only three."