The Extraordinary Vet2Vet Press Conference

On September 1st, I posted the essay, An Empty Fridge? on my website, It was light-hearted and generated a smile or two. No smiles accompany the following post, though.

This is a brief but special narrative that emphasizes the Vet2Vet peer counseling program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s University Behavioral HealthCare center (UMDNJ’s UBHC). It offers crucial information about a press conference held at  UMDNJ’s UBHC that focused on veterans’ issues and the military’s mental health problems.

I’m proud to say that my husband Ed worked hard alongside the dedicated members of UMDNJ’s UBHC who put the conference together and made it the success that it was.

Seven men and women spoke the afternoon of August 31. All were enlightening, heartbreaking, and mobilizing as they explained how difficult it was for our vets to reintegrate into civilian life. Peer family counseling had become an important element of the Vet2Vet program as well and so the problems faced by the veterans’ families were also discussed.

Furthermore, legislation titled The Sergeant Coleman S. Bean Individual Regular Reserve Suicide Prevention Act of 2010 was introduced (Section 2 of H.R. 5170)  “. . . to provide members of the Individual Ready Reserve [and individual mobilization augmentees] who served in Afghanistan or Iraq with information on counseling to prevent suicide.”  These soldiers are more likely to fall through the military’s mental health cracks since they are not assigned to a unit and therefore do not have  ” . . .  an established support structure . . . . ”

It was an emotionally piercing experience. The individual, state, and country-wide pain shot through all in attendance that day.

Please watch for my next post, Veterans in Need and the Folks Who Responded. My brain is still reeling from what I learned about the Vet2Vet program, the Sergeant Coleman S. Bean bill, and the people behind the scenes. Ah, the people. They were exceptional!


Please pass on the following to any vets you might know and to those who might know a vet:

News Conference Coverage: