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A program overseen by the Vermont National Guard and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, sends veterans out to visit the homes of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
A recent study by the Pentagon found that about 49 percent of National Guard members report psychological conditions including brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from deployment. With repeated and extended deployments, that number is only expected to grow and is one reason a veterans-outreach program in Vermont is being cited as a national model. The program, overseen by the Vermont National Guard and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, sends veterans out to visit the homes of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They ensure service members and their families know about available state and federal benefits, including mental health care and support programs, and provide referral services. Vermont officials say the program is effective because it reaches veterans away from a clinical setting where they may be less candid about difficulties they are facing. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who helped secure $1 million in federal aid for the program last year, is using it as the model for a $30 million national pilot project he is proposing before Congress. To learn more, contact the Vermont National Guard at 802-338-3246.