MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Coming on the heels of Westchester County's recent announcement of reaching a functional zero regarding veterans homelessness, New York state Sen.Terrence Murphy joined Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to announce the renewal of state funding for a veterans peer program.
"As part of this year's budget I was proud to secure $185,000 for Westchester County to continue to administer the Dwyer Peer to Peer Program," Murphy said. "This program provides an incredible service by coordinating vet to vet counseling to help those struggling with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries."
Reports continue to show service members returning from active duty are at an increased risk for PTSD. Statistics from the federal government indicate nearly 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer from PTSD, which is double the rate from Operation Desert Storm.
In addition, there is an ongoing effort to reduce the suicide rate of veterans which currently stands at a staggering rate of 22 everyday.
"Westchester thanks Senator Murphy for securing the resources to fund this important program," Astorino said. "Our veterans have always been there for us, and we need to be there for them if the need ever arises and the Dwyer Peer to Peer program is another way of meeting the needs of some of our soldiers coming home."
Ron Tocci, director of the Westchester County Veterans Services said that the peer to peer concept has proven to be one of the most successful and supportive ways to help returning troops transition back to civilian life.
Eugene Parotta, director of Veterans' Affairs for Murphy, and a two time Purple Heart recipient from Croton-On-Hudson said: "After serving our country, veterans can have a challenging time transitioning to civilian life. Often PTSD goes undiagnosed for an extended period of time and only adds to the challenges our veterans are facing. On behalf of veterans across Westchester County I want to thank Senator Murphy for ensuring this crucial program continues."
The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Program, named for an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide after suffering PTSD will be administered by the Veterans and Mental Health Departments of Westchester County. For more information on the program, call 914-995-2145.