Local Marines and Veterans’ Center to Speak of Need for “Train Vets to Treat Vets"
For Immediate Release: May 6, 2011State House, Room 437 Time: 2:00
Hidden Wounds of War Report Yields Effort for “Train Vets to Treat Vets"
Local Marines and Veterans’ Center to Speak of Need
BOSTON- Local marines and other veterans will share their compelling stories and their belief in the need for training more veterans who can care for the mental health needs of other veterans at a briefing on May 11. Representative James E. Vallee, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans’ and Federal Affairs, will host this discussion for legislators and staff at 2:00 pm in room 437 at the State House.
Speakers include former U.S. Marine Corps Colonel James Flynn of Medford and former Marine Sergeant Greg Matos of Waltham, recipient of the Bronze Star with Combat Valor and the State Department’s Award for Heroism, and a Doctoral Candidate at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. In addition, Mr. John Ratka, Director, Veterans’ Northeast Outreach Center, will speak to the importance of coordinating services around the Commonwealth with the Department of Veterans’ Services.
On January 5, 2009, The Special Commission to Study and Investigate the Hidden Wounds of War on Massachusetts Service Members (Chapter 1 of the Resolves of 2008) published a report after statewide hearings. The Commission outlined a continuum of pressing issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the associated problems of substance abuse, feelings of hopelessness, lack of employment, relationship problems and, in the most severe situations, suicide.
In June 2010, the General Court requested a report on the effectiveness and efficiency of establishing a program of behavioral health career development for returning veterans in conjunction with the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) under a Federal Yellow Ribbon Program, Train Vets to Treat Vets. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ establishment of the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship Program and the MSPP’s participation in that program, together with its experience in providing culturally competent mental health education and training, provide compelling reasons to support a partnership where returning veterans can be appropriately identified and supported in receiving a professional education to provide mental health treatment to fellow veterans, according to the MSPP.
Several members of the General Court also serve in the military. Senator Michael Rush, D-Boston, a Lieutenant in the United States Navy and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, is currently serving in Iraq. Representative James Vallee, D-Franklin, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Representative Jerald Parisella, D-Beverly, a veteran of the Army Reserves is serving in Afghanistan. Representative Harold P. Naughton, D-Clinton, a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, served in Iraq and recently received the Combat Action Badge.