Hartford, CT - State Senator Tony Hwang is a long standing and passionate advocate for Connecticut veterans and their mental health. He continues to work on legislation and outreach initiatives to help combat the effects of post-traumatic stress and to prevent suicide although no longer serving on the Veterans Affairs Committee of the General Assembly. On Wednesday, January 30th Sen. Hwang met with Christina Allen and Scott Smith of the Veterans Administration in Connecticut to release a public service announcement (Watch PSA Here) about mental health resources and support for Veterans, their families, and caregivers.
“What I hear from veterans that use these resources is that it they realize and feel reassured to know they are not alone,” said Hwang. “Just being aware of others who are dealing with similar issues or knowing that people are here to help really does seem to be one of the greatest benefits of programs like these, not to mention the benefits of the services themselves. I am very proud to support every veteran and I am committed to making sure the services and resources available to them are top notch and that they are aware of those benefits that can be incredibly helpful to those in need. Thank you to the VA, to Christina, and to Scott for all they do for our heroes.”
Ms. Allen, who serves as Suicide Prevention Coordinator, hoped to help inform more CT veterans struggling with their mental health about the resources available to them and their extended family. “Our resources include inpatient and outpatient care, a 24/7 psychiatric emergency room at their West Haven Facility at 950 Campbell Avenue (203-932-5711), and a 24/7 crisis line for veterans, family members and their caregivers at 1-800-273-8255, then press 1. The crisis line can also be found online at www.veteranscrisisline.net.”
Scott Smith, an Marine Veteran who served in Iraq, works with the VA as a Peer Support Specialist and also assists in vocational placement for veterans looking for work. Smith takes great pride in helping his fellow veterans through similar issues that he himself dealt with, and believes that what many veterans need most is just someone to listen. “You don’t need special training. If you know someone who is struggling, all you have to do is say that you’re available to listen. It really does help.”
You can find more resources available for veterans and their families by dialing the Veterans Administration main line at (860) 666-6951 or visiting the website at https://www.va.gov/health-care/