For Immediate Release
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
UMDNJ University Behavioral HealthCare
Helpline Established for New Jersey Veterans and Their Families
8/30/05—Veterans returning to America from war answered the call of duty. Now, peer counselors are available to answer their calls about distress and readjusting to civilian life. Veterans who reside in New Jersey are encouraged to call 1-866-VETS-NJ-4 (1-866-838-7654), a confidential, toll-free helpline that was recently created through a partnership between the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMAVA).
Veterans serve as peer counselors and clinicians on the statewide helpline, which operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day, at the UMDNJ University Behavioral HealthCare in Piscataway. They respond to inquiries and make referrals related to handling bouts of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and frequent nightmares.
In addition to veterans, family members of men and women who are currently serving in the war or have returned from war are encouraged to call this helpline. Peer counselors can help during the process of coping with separation from family members who are at war, reuniting with veterans and readjusting to life after deployment.
Christopher Kosseff, president and CEO of UMDNJ University Behavioral HealthCare, said, "This helpline was established for veterans who live in New Jersey and their families. Veteran peer counselors and clinicians have access to a comprehensive Mental Health Provider Network of professionals specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other veteran issues. We are honored to answer calls from men and women who risked their lives for our county."
According to Linda Shaw, director of program development at UMDNJ University Behavioral HealthCare, "Returning home can be challenging because the readjustment period may produce feelings of excitement and anxiety. If you're having trouble reconnecting with your work and family life, or if you have settled into being a civilian again and you are feeling down, give us a call. We can help."
Bill Devereaux, Director of Veterans Programs for the State of New Jersey, said, "The mission of the Department of Veterans Programs is to provide service and timely assistance to our returning combat troops and their dependents. At DMAVA we feel that UMDNJ’s Behavioral HealthCare Division has provided our New Jersey vets with a viable and extremely valuable program that addresses their psychological needs. The 24/7 project has been most effective in carrying out our mission goals and meeting the needs of our veterans."
Callers who need further counseling or information about insurance benefits will receive referrals to their local Veterans Service Offices (VSO), which is part the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs.
For more information about the helpline, visit www.njveteranshelpline.org.
Self-Test for Veterans:
Since returning from active duty, are you...
- Avoiding crowded places?
- Having trouble sleeping?
- Experiencing nightmares or frightening thoughts?
- Having difficulty breathing or having chest pains with no medical cause found?
- Use alcohol or other drugs to help you feel better?
- Finding hard to control your anger?
- Having trouble feeling safe?
- Have difficulty socializing?
- Feeling left out of the family routine you left behind?
- Overwhelmed by noises and confusion of home life?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, call this toll-free, confidential helpline: 1-866-VETS-NJ-4 (1-866-838-7654).