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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Does Vermont Have the Model Combat PTSD Care Program?

From the Boston Herald:

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is touting a Vermont program that helps veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as a model for the nation. The program, begun a year ago with the help of a $1 million federal appropriation, sends outreach workers to visit with each member of the Vermont National Guard and all active duty veterans the workers can find after they have returned from overseas.

In many cases it’s easier for the veterans to open up about difficulties they are facing in their lives while meeting in their homes or in other non-clinical settings, Sanders, an independent, said Monday during a Burlington news conference. ... Sanders is going to introduce legislation that would provide $30 million to help expand the Vermont program across the country. "Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very difficult illness. You never know when it is going to surface," said Sanders, who was joined at the Burlington news conference by Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, the head of the Vermont National Guard, officials with the White River Junction Department of Veterans Affairs hospital and other officials.

Dubie said about 2,000 members of the Vermont National Guard have served overseas since Sept. 11, 2001. And several hundred of them have been overseas more than once. Most of the veterans are readjusting to life after military service overseas without difficulty. "Some of our people need assistance," Dubie said. "The idea of the outreach program is to get people out knocking on doors. The biggest question is ’How are you doing?’" ... And the program does more than just work with the veteran. It can also involve family members. "Our job is simply to contact everybody who has been deployed," said James MacIntyre, a retired National Guard chaplain and the outreach specialist for the program.

I'd love to hear what the Vermont vets think about this program.

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