The Bipartisan Bill Would Make the “Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program” Available to Veterans Across the Country
WOODBRIDGE, Va. —. U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped introduce bipartisan legislation to connect more Virginia Veterans with other Veterans affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Iraq War Veteran PFC Joseph P. Dwyer was a U.S. Army medic who returned home with serious psychological and emotional wounds from combat. PFC Dwyer’s long battle with PTSD resulted in his untimely and tragic death in 2008. In his name, New York State created the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program, which helps Veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI by connecting them with Veterans experiencing similar issues. Established in 2012 by then-New York State Senator and former U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01), the Joseph P. Dwyer Program has a demonstrated record of success, providing peer-to-peer counselling for thousands of Veterans across New York State.
The Spanberger-backed PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program Act would create a federal grant for state and local entities, non-profits serving Veterans, and Veteran Service Organizations to implement the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program in their communities.
“I’ve spoken directly with many Virginia Veterans who are working to overcome the mental wounds of war. Often, they tell me about how they find immense strength in sharing their stories, their experiences, and their triumphs with their fellow Veterans,” said Spanberger. “That’s why I’m proud to help introduce this legislation — alongside both Democrats and Republicans — to make sure these Veterans are connected with even more of the resources they deserve. These kinds of initiatives — programs that connect Veterans to other Veterans with similar conditions and circumstances — are often critical in building pathways to hope, preventing Veteran suicide, and achieving personal health and wellness.”
The bipartisan PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program Act is led by U.S. Representative Nick LaLota (R-NY-01), a Navy Veteran.
Spanberger has long worked to strengthen support for Veterans with mental health challenges. Last year, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House voted to pass her legislation to increase federal support for veteran suicide prevention as the Veterans Crisis Line transitioned to the universal 9-8-8 hotline.
**If a Virginian or someone they know is in crisis, they can call or text 9-8-8 or chat online at 988lifeline.org. Veterans can reach the Veterans Crisis Line directly by dialing 9-8-8 and pressing “1.”**