Two programs in Jefferson County will split $185,000 to help veterans and active military personnel struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other related illnesses.
The money will be split between River Hospital’s Community Wellness Program in Alexandria Bay and the Vets Peer-to-Peer Outreach Center in Watertown.
“They’ve always been there for us and we need to be there for them too when they are struggling with wounds of war we cannot see,” said state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, who secured the money. “These programs give them a shoulder to lean on and I am proud to continue to support them.”
The Alexandria Bay program offers outpatient mental health services, including counseling and group therapy.
“The River Community Wellness Program has an excellent track record of helping active duty troops and veterans cope with the challenges that often accompany military service,” River Hospital CEO Ben Moore said in a statement thanking the senator.
The Watertown’s Vets Peer-to-Peer Outreach Center oversees the Pfc. Joseph Dwyer Peer Support Program for Veterans.
“Through funding she has secured, we can continue to ensure that these brave individuals receive the support needed to cope with combat-related illnesses,” said Tim Crytser, peer advocate at the center.
Erika F. Flint, executive director of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, said in a statement that the funds will help improve the health of area residents.
“Strengthening our region’s mental health infrastructure has always been a core mission of FDRHPO, and we applaud Senator Ritchie for her work to support this mission,” she said. “These funds will go a long way toward helping some of our community’s bravest members get the care they need.”
Sen. Ritchie’s office said this is the fifth year in which the senator has secured funds for the programs, drawing in almost $1 million overall.