Veteran groups push to make mental health a top priority

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Veterans groups say they are pushing Congress to make veterans’ issues, such as mental health, a top priority.

Army veteran Sergio Alfaro said he has dealt with PTSD for more than 15 years since serving in Iraq. He shared his story with lawmakers in Washington.

“These are things that hamper your life and prevent you from living the life you would want to live and finding the happiness that I believe all Americans are entitled,” said Alfaro.

Indiana Representative Jim Banks, a former servicemember, sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and wants to get veterans more individual help.

“There’s so much more that we can do at the federal level, the state level, the local level,” said Banks.

Veterans groups including the Wounded Warrior project laid out their legislative priorities to congress this week.

Experts say the rate of veteran suicides continues to climb presenting a challenge to congress as the best way to tackle the problem.

Alfaro says his own story is his most effective and will help other veterans.

“I’m able to get the message across to these people that there are still so many veterans that are still suffering,” said Alfaro.

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