Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D, I-Utica/Rome) announced the CNY Veteran’s Outreach Center has been was approved for a $105,000 state grant to implement the Dwyer Veteran Peer to Peer Program. Buttenschon was joined by Vincent Scalise, founder and executive director of the Utica Center for Development, to share details of the program at a press conference on Dec. 16 at the CNY Veteran’s Outreach Center in downtown Utica.
“When our brave veterans return home from service, they can contend with a host of physical trauma and mental health conditions that complicate the transition back to civilian life,” Buttenschon said. “These individuals put their lives on the line for us and the least we can do is help them work through these physical and emotional battles. The Dwyer Veteran Peer to Peer Program has helped countless New York veterans improve their well-being and will be an invaluable outlet to the service members that call the Mohawk Valley home.”
“Sometimes there is a disconnect between veterans who are suffering from psychological disorders and those who are trying to assist them.,” said Scalise, a military veteran and member of New York’s National Guard. “It may be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or difficulty reintegrating into society as a civilian. Many veterans find it easier to open-up-to someone who understands what they are dealing with because they have also been through it before. This program makes it possible to provide veteran-to-veteran, peer-to-peer support, and I want to thank Assemblywoman Buttenschon for securing this important funding. “
The Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Project launched in 2012 as a peer-to-peer program for veterans who have returned home from service and are facing the challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other mental and behavioral health issues. Earlier this year, Buttenschon helped secure $5 million for the program in the state budget.
“Taking care of our veterans is of the utmost importance in Oneida County,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “This peer-to-peer program at the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center will be a vital resource to improving the mental health of those who served this great nation and are now struggling with how that selflessness is impacting their lives now. We are grateful for this state funding that will help our heroes reintegrate into our community and lead healthy and productive lives.”
The CNY Veteran’s Outreach Center will receive a $105,000 grant to offer a Dwyer Veteran Peer to Peer Pilot Program to local service men and women. This funding will help the center provide confidential, one-on-one or small group counseling that has proved to be beneficial for veterans and mental health professionals alike statewide.
“There are local heroes across the Mohawk Valley who can benefit from this important program and this state funding will ensure they have access to it,” Buttenschon said.