A crisis help line designed to provide counseling for New Jersey’s veterans is going nationwide.
Njtoday.net reports that Vets4Warriors is a new national outreach and support program that offers critical military peer-to-peer counseling for members of the National Guard and military reserves 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Due the New Jersey program’s success since 2005, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg suggested to President Obama, the Defense Department and the National Guard that it become national. It will now be available in all 54 states and territories.
According to an Associated Press report in the Washington Post, the Vets4Warriors counseling program will be staffed by about 40 specially trained veterans, and was established by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2005.
Suicide rates among Army soldiers has been steadily rising since 2004, and the Army reported that suicides in July 2011 reached a record high. According to Veteran’s Administration estimates, a veteran dies of suicide every 80 minutes.
The Vets4warriors site says all calls are confidential, or anonymous, if the person chooses. They say they are a separate organization from the Veterans Administration and the military.