Tackling veteran suicides one on one
March 4, 2020
“I knew we had to do something about veteran suicides,” said Miller, who was a Strategic Air Command medic during the Korean War. “That’s when I started the peer group … to have veterans trained to talk to veterans and stop these suicides.
In 2012, U.S. Air Force veteran Frederick Miller saw a report on CNN about veteran suicides. And then he started to notice multiple reports showing the number of suicides each day, but didn’t see much in the way of how the problem was being addressed.(Photo courtesy moriches.greaterlongisland.com)
So Miller – the former Nassau County (New York) chief of parasitology, an ordained reverend and the chaplain for Arthur H. Clune American Legion Post 1533 in Mastic Beach – decided to start addressing the problem at the local level.
Miller’s Veterans Peer-to-Peer Program started at his post, but has since grown to become a Suffolk County program, with more than 100 Legion Family members participating. Those who participate in the program as counselors undergo training and then work with veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and what Miller calls the “moral injuries” associated with serving in combat.
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