Rep. Scott Peters

Opinion: Veterans Helping Veterans — Why Peer Support Should Be Expanded
A familiar face makes a world of difference in caring for veterans

“You mean it gets better?” a female veteran asks Olga, a certified peer specialist working at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the last decade, Olga has served as an integral part of the VA’s peer specialist program in Dallas. After going through the dizzying process herself as an Army veteran, she wondered how other veterans experiencing severe mental health episodes were managing to get the care they needed.

Now, Olga spends her time connecting with other veterans to help steer them through the VA’s web of mental health care services. She is part of a workforce of more than 1,100 peer specialists who help veterans in department facilities across the country, including 25 VA primary care sites. This program provides veterans with a trusted guide to navigate the system: a fellow veteran who has gone through the same journey to wellness. Peer specialists supplement traditional care practices, such as counseling or group therapy, and work in patient-aligned care teams to meet the needs of each veteran.

Building Extreme Weather Resiliency is Good for Business | Commentary

What should make members of Congress from both parties and small-business owners all agree about increasingly extreme weather? Resilience.

A Quick Climate Cure: Stopping Super Pollutants | Commentary

With gridlock gripping Washington, D.C., and preventing action on even simple fronts, it’s hard to see how Congress and the president will agree on good climate action policy. But the need is clear. Examples of extreme weather occurrences seem to be constant. Between the devastating typhoon in the Philippines and the wildfire- and flood-ravaged American West, it is clear that we are continuing to experience the devastating consequences of global climate change. The timing of international inaction could not be worse, as the need for specific reduction targets remains great.

Thankfully, there is some real opportunity. Despite the dismal read-out from the recent climate meetings in Poland and the lackluster enthusiasm for action here in Washington, the short-term opportunity is found in four particular pollutants: methane, tropospheric ozone, hydrofluorocarbons and black carbon. Consider them the low-hanging fruit in the effort to keep the planet cooler, healthier and safer.