TRENTON – The Senate and Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs committees will hold a joint hearing on Monday, October 22, to discuss and hear testimony on the current status of suicide and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans and members of the United States Armed Services and the National Guard.
“We are facing an epidemic among those who serve our country,” said Senator Jim Beach, chairman of the Senate Committee. “They are either taking their own lives because of the traumatic experiences they have undergone, or they are experiencing horrible after affects. The men and women who have served our country deserve better than this. We need to fully understand why this is happening and provide solutions to stop it.”
“Most of us cannot even imagine what our service men and women have experienced while defending our freedom,” said Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, Chair of the Assembly Committee. “We owe it to them to better understand how we can help them cope with the traumas they’ve witnessed and the difficulty transitioning back into civilian life, particularly in this economy.”
Suicides among veterans and those on active duty remain disturbingly high. As reported by the New York Times, approximately 270 active-duty service members have committed suicide this year. If that rate continues it would be the highest amount of suicides in three years.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder, triggered by a traumatic event, which can lead to depression, nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, memory loss, and substance abuse problems. Over the last four years, the demand for PTSD counseling has increased by 33.9 percent.
The hearing will feature testimony from Adjutant General Michael Cunniff, and various representatives of the armed forces community. The hearing will take place at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, 101 Eggert Crossing Road, Lawrenceville, beginning at 1 p.m.