UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon has announced a $105,000 grant to implement the Dwyer Veteran Peer to Peer Program at the Central New York Veteran’s Outreach Center, which aims to help those who served with their mental health.

“When we talk about our veterans the most important aspect is to ensure their well being and mental health is the key to that well being so this program that exists throughout the state and we’re very fortunate it will now be in Oneida county to help support our veterans,” said Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon.

“The Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Project launched in 2012, and helps veterans post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other mental and behavioral health issues. Founder and Executive Director of the Utica Center for Development Vincent Scalise says that programs like this are important in the winter months, and even more now due to the pandemic.

“There’s an uptick in the seasonal depression, but I think with everything that has gone on in the past two years with Covid and everything mental health has really risen to the top of the latter in problems that we’re seeing,” said Scalise.

Scalise explains that mental health should be the forefront of treatment when helping those who served transition back to civilian life.

“If somebody is suffering from mental health you’re not going to be able to help them with their other problems so if they e homeless its probably because the homeless was caused by the mental health with a strong mind you can help a client through anything,” said Scalise.