(WLNS) – Senator Peters aims to help veterans across the country with new legislation, including veterans right here in Michigan.
The legislation to help prevent veteran suicide passed the senate on Wednesday and is now on the president’s desk.
“Everyone understands when you have a situation where so many men and women who are suffering and committing suicide, time is of the essence we’ve got to act as quickly as possible the VA is focused on that and I’m going to keep a close on it to make sure that it gets implemented as quickly as possible,” said Senator Gary Peters (d), Michigan.
6 News’ Intern Cat Reid has one local marine’s reaction as well as an update from the Battle Creek VA.
“Proud, tough, strong and determined, you know, Post Traumatic Stress, I don’t hide from it, because it’s something people need to be aware of.”
Eric Calley returned from Iraq in 2006, but he says he didn’t come home until 2011 because of his PTSD.
“It’s not curable, it’s only manageable. You can manage it before it manages you, but sometimes it will get the best of you.”
To help veterans manage PTSD, Senator Gary Peters helped pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
The bill would create a one stop website with mental health resources for veterans, develop peer support program and set up a loan repayment incentive to attract more psychiatrists.
Some of the initiatives are already in place at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center, which has peer programs and more healthcare providers.
“We’re always gonna try to find the best performance-based plans to treat veterans, but I think we’re moving in the right direction, and again, bills like this are just going to enhance our ability to do that,” said Damian McGee, Battle Creek VA Medical Center.
But for Calley, it’s too little, too late.
“To me, it’s not jumping on board and being proactive about the problem. This is saying I want to be lazy, put some things up on a website, and hope that the veteran sees it.”
He believes it’s a reactive decision with dangerous consequences.
“That’s going to end up killing thousands of people we could’ve saved.”
Veterans and their families who are looking for help can call the National Veterans Crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8225.