Continue funding Vets4Warriors
This petition had 8,828 supporters
For nearly 4 years, Vets4Warriors has been one of the only organizations in the country providing mental health peer support by veterans, for veterans and troops. The confidential program has helped thousands of our men and women in uniform connect with people who truly understand their hardships. It has saved many lives. Now, the Department of Defense (DoD) wants to stop funding Vets4Warriors just when it is needed most.
My name is Tess, and my partner is one of the amazing vets that provides peer counseling services through Vets4Warriors -- a 24/7 anonymous hotline for troops in need. It has proven so important, because many veterans simply shut down around civilians who haven’t experienced what they have, and who haven’t personally struggled with war-related PTSD and other veteran-specific mental health issues. During the past 3 years, roughly 110,000 servicemen and women have opened up to counselors at Vets4Warriors. That averages 100 calls per day.
Military members commit suicide at double the rate of civilians. Over 3,000 service members have taken their lives since the start of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Without Vets4Warriors, I am certain that number would be higher. Please join me in asking the DoD to continue funding Vets4Warriors.
The Department of Defense plans on merging Vets4Warriors with its in-house Military OneSource, yet another mental health organization comprised of mostly civilians, which offers counseling without the first-hand connection to vets’ struggles. Not only do soldiers prefer to talk to fellow service people, they have been known to distrust the DoD. Vet4Warriors has a well-established reputation within the military community as a trusted external resource.
My partner, along with all the veterans who serve with passion at Vets4Warriors, is under contract and not allowed to speak up for the program -- this is why I’m raising my voice, and why you should, too. A bipartisan group of respected lawmakers is already asking the DoD to reconsider its decision, but a show of support from people like you would go far to preserving Vets4Warriors, so it can continue to be there for the people who fight for our freedoms.
An article highlighting the defunding can be found here: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/15/exclusive-pentagon-shutting-down-highly-regarded-suicide-prevention-program/
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