Monday, August 22, 2011

Conners, Tucker, & Moriarty Bill to Create Peer Support Program for Veterans Now Law

(Trenton) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Jack Conners, Cleopatra Tucker and Paul D. Moriarty establishing a veteran-to-veteran peer support telephone helpline was signed into law Friday.

The new law (S-1731/A-2616) makes a permanent program started by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  The 24 hour/7-day a week helpline (1-866-VETS-NJ-4) provides New Jersey veterans and their families with access to a comprehensive support network of mental health professionals who specialize in issues specific to veterans returning to civilian life.

"The helpline is a great idea that receives and responds to veterans, service members and their families," said Conners (D-Burlington/Camden), chairman of the Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee.  "We sadly know all too well that many of our veterans need a helping hand once they've returned home, and hopefully a peer support program like this will encourage them to seek help when they need it."

"This program provides New Jersey veterans and their families with access to a comprehensive network of mental health professionals specializing in post traumatic stress disorder and other veterans issues," said Tucker (D-Essex).  "It's a great program and I'm thrilled that it is here to stay."

"The services are free and confidential, and since its inception, the helpline has fielded more than 6,000 calls," said Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden).  "It's a valuable program that has already helped thousands of veterans in need after their service, and I'm glad that it will continue to help veterans for years to come."

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