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Senate Passes Fuschillo Bill To Improve Mental Healthcare For Returning Veterans

 

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. announced that the State Senate approved legislation (S. 6799-A) today that he sponsors that would establish a statewide program to train mental health providers to diagnose and treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other combat related mental health issues among New York’s veterans.

Senator Fuschillo (8th Senate District) said, "With increasing numbers of veterans experiencing PTSD, TBI and other mental health afflictions, it is imperative that mental health professionals are able to properly identify and treat these illnesses that are unique to combat situations. This program will ensure that New York’s mental health workforce is well prepared to meet the needs of veterans returning from active duty."

According to a recent Rand Corp. study, roughly one in five U.S. current troops is suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress and an equal number have suffered brain injuries. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that PTSD rates are as high as 24.5 percent for National Guard and Reserve troops serving in Iraq. Substance abuse is also significantly higher than in the civilian population.

The training program will be administered by the National Association of Social Workers-New York Chapter with oversight from the NYS Office of Mental Health and the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs. The recently adopted 2008-09 budget included $250,000 to fund the first year of the three-year program.

The training program, which will be available to social workers, physicians, psychiatrists and other mental health providers, will be offered in multiple locations across the state so that a maximum number of mental health professionals can partake of it.


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