Assemblyman Colin Schmitt and Republican Assembly Conference colleagues held a roundtable on veteran and first responder PTSD last week at Vails Gate Fire Department in New Winsor.
They discussed legislative actions to promote increased services to address the issue. Attending the event were local elected officials, veterans, first responders and community members.
The event, the fourth of six regional roundtables being organized by the Assembly Republican Conference, was aimed at addressing the pervasive issue of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) facing veterans, as well as law enforcement, health care and emergency service personnel.
“Mental health services are sorely lacking in this state and in this country, and during my time in the National Guard I have personally seen how critical a full and thoughtful approach is for our service-men and women and first responders,” Schmitt said. “ We must find a better way to identify and address the impact mental health issues have on our frontline defenders.”
Assemblyman Jake Ashby added: “Military personnel and frontline first responders are routinely exposed to emergencies and other circumstances that dramatically impact their mental health. Too often, these incidents create lasting mental health challenges that go largely unaddressed. For that reason, I have introduced and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to help address this issue, including a bill to make the Division of Veterans’ Services into its own independent state agency. Today’s event in New Windsor was an important step toward reshaping our state’s treatment plan, and I am hopeful that with the feedback we have gathered we can better formulate short- and long-term strategies to adequately address mental health concerns.”
“Service members returning home are afflicted with PTSD in skyrocketing numbers. We must have the capability to provide services to them in an effective manner,” added Assemblyman Joseph Angelino.