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Federal Legislation Aims to Help Veterans Struggling with Mental Health

A photo of BrightView in Akron
Sarah Taylor
/
WKSU
BrightView addiction treatment center in Akron is an option for veterans who are dealing with mental health challenges as they transition to civilian life.

There’s been an increase this year in the number of veterans ending their lives. Senior army leaders say they’ve seen a 30 percent jump in veteran suicides.

Federal legislation approved in late October aims to help veterans dealing with mental health and substance use disorders.

Army combat veteran Nate Pelletier, a vice president at Cincinnati-based BrightView treatment centers, wrote a portion of the bill. It provides funding to help veterans transition from military service back into day-to-day life.

Nate Pelletier: help for transitioning veterans

“Those that are leaving the service they get some training and some skills in preparation but then there’s a cliff. And then they’re discharged and there’s no connection to where they’re going," Pelletier said. "Often there’s no requirement for them to have a job. That gap is a distress gap and that is what I’m hoping this pilot with the transitional funds will help close.”

With veterans at a high risk for substance abuse and mental illness, Pelletier says the goal is to be able to identify and prevent those issues before they happen.

One resource for struggling veterans is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.

Melissa Meyers is a senior at Kent pursuing a major in broadcast journalism. Along with interning at WKSU, she is also involved with Kent State's student-run news station, TV2 News. She currently anchors and produces the 6 pm newscast. After college she hopes to get a job working as a news reporter/anchor.