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To the Editor:

Re "Does the V.A. Get It?" (editorial, April 25):

Along with hiring more psychiatrists to provide mental therapy for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs should also hire a significant array of employment specialists.

I can say from my own experience that there is a causal link between veterans' chronic unemployment and post-traumatic stress. The feelings of worthlessness for the thousands of veteran job candidates who send out hundreds of résumés to a numbing silence and no interviews creates an emotional hopelessness tied to economic helplessness.

Many of the 400-plus unemployed veterans I have interviewed personally have been unemployed for up to two years. They tell us that the interview with Veterans Across America is their last stop; they are considering suicide.

The symptoms of mental anguish persist even after the veteran secures a job. Everyone looks at job creation and few realize that there's a huge retention problem; a large percentage of veterans leave their jobs in the first year of employment.

Mental counseling has not been available to veterans in the pre- or post-employment cycle. The V.A. needs to establish a veterans' job lifeline to stem the tide of veterans leaving the work force.

WESLEY PORIOTIS, New York, April 26, 2012

The writer is a founder of Veterans Across America.

Editor's Note: The New York Times editorial appeared in the Current News Early Bird, April 25, 2012.


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