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Zeldin To Introduce Legislation To Help Vets With PTSD

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)
Charles Lane

Long Island 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.