3/31/19 UPDATE: Thanks to you taking action these last few days, today the New York State legislature put forward an appropriations bill that FULLY FUNDS the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Services Peer-to-Peer program, avoiding deep cuts that seemed imminent only hours ago. This means veterans at risk for suicide in counties across New York State will continue to benefit from the support of peer mentors and their community. We further urge state legislators to continue investing in and expanding this young, successful program in the months and years to come.
Special thanks to each and every one of our community members who reached out to Governor Cuomo and NYS legislators--and thanks also to backup from our community partners at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America who had our backs on this! We are also grateful for the legislators and advocates across the state who spoke up to protect this vital program, including NYC-based Assembly Members Felix Ortiz and Nicole Malliotakis.
On February 26th, 2019, Samuel Molik, Director of Policy and Legislative Advocacy, testified before the NYC Council's Joint Committees on Veterans and Mental Health, Disabilities & Addiction in an oversight hearing on veteran suicide and mental health:Read more
On November 19th, 2018, our Director of Policy & Legislative Advocacy, Sam Molik, testified before the NYC Council Committees on Aging and Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction in an oversight hearing on mental wellness in older adults.
The hearing also considered Introduction 1180, which would require caseworkers providing services at senior centers to complete the mental health first aid training course for older adults offered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and to complete a refresher training course at least once every three years.
Below is his testimony:Read more
In late September, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released national and state-level findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data, from 2005 to 2016. Key points include:
-- An average of 20 current or former service members die each day—a rate of 30.1 per 100,000. This is more than twice the rate of our civilian counterparts.
-- Of these 20 veteran suicides per day, six have received recent VA health care and 14 have not.
-- Rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18-34) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 55 and older). However, because the older Veteran population is the largest, this group accounted for 58.1 percent of Veteran suicide deaths in 2016.
-- The rate of suicide among 18-34-year-old Veterans continues to increase -- The use of firearms as a method of suicide is high and increasing. The percentage of suicide deaths that involved firearms was 67.0 percent in 2015 and 69.4 percent in 2016.Read more
On Monday, September 21, the Manhattan VA Medical Center held its annual Community Mental Health Summit, where VA administrators sought to improve understanding and communication between the VA and service providers and veterans within the community. The event was held in Atrium A (the main conference center), and was well-attended by a large audience made up mostly of service providers from non-VA programs and nonprofits in the area. The program as a whole was informative and interactive, but left us with many questions about how much community input would go toward actual changes at the Manhattan VAMC, or whether there will be follow-up with community members about what was discussed.Read more
Moderator Phoebe Gavin discusses how to better serve at-risk veterans with panelists Lee Covino, Coco Culhane, Brett Morash, Tireak Tulloch, and Vadim Panasyuk.
Forum on NYC Veterans Policy
Presented by the NYC Veterans Alliance
July 28, 2015 - New York Public Library
Advocates have proposed that NYC’s 3-1-1 information system directly connect suicidal veterans who dial the system to the federally-funded VA Suicide Hotline. This initiative received the strongest support of the sixteen listed in the survey. A total of 95.39% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.Read more