Suffolk County Launches Peer to Peer Program
Program Designed to Help Veterans Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(Hauppauge, New York-March 15, 2013) Suffolk County is one of 4 municipalities in New York State who have implemented a pilot program named in honor of PFC Joseph Dwyer, a Suffolk County resident who joined the Army after 9/11 and was deployed to Iraq. PFC Dwyer suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and lost his battle with PTSD.
The Peer to Peer program is overseen by the Suffolk County Veteran’s Service Agency and is designed to serve veterans, active duty, reserve and National Guard troops suffering from PTSD and allows veterans the opportunity to share and discuss their issues and problems with trained veteran personnel. The unique nature of the program is that veterans are serving as the facilitators of the groups which provides a comfort and familiarity level to those veterans seeking assistance.
Funding for the program was secured by Senator Lee Zeldin in the amount of $200,000 through the pilot phase of the program.
“The Peer to Peer program is needed in Suffolk County as we have seen a rise of military suicides in our country,” said County Executive Bellone. “Those who are serving or who have served our country need our support and resources and the Peer to Peer program is designed to address the needs of the military community suffering from PTSD.”
Suffolk County was chosen as a pilot County because of its large and diverse veteran population coupled with its reputation for delivering quality services to veterans. The Peer to Peer program currently holds seven weekly group meetings throughout Suffolk County with more than 78 veterans actively participating in the program. The meetings operate with an acceptance of anonymity to ensure full participation by the military community. The program has received full support from Suffolk County Veterans Service groups and the Northport VA Medical Center who also refers veterans to the program.
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