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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

Mother Of Soldier Calls For Better System For At-Risk Soldiers

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Used with the Pallotta family's permission
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PFC Joshua Pallotta committed suicide in September after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The mother of a Vermont National Guard Soldier who committed suicide in September says the current system set up to help soldiers at risk is not working.

Valerie Pallotta says soldiers and veterans need more frequent check-ins with case managers and better access to health care. She’s in Washington D.C. Wednesday making this case before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Her son, PFC Joshua Pallotta, took his own life after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Valerie Pallotta is calling on the federal government to make it easier for soldiers to find medical care outside of the VA system.

Pallotta said the military in general is so concerned about training soldiers for the next mission that they’re not fixing what happened in the last mission.

"I believe that when my son was going through the most painful time in his life, people weren't there. They weren't checking on him," Pallotta said. "Whether they engaged or not, whether he was receptive or not to them engaging, they needed to keep engaging with him and they need to keep knocking down his door."

The Vermont Guard has said that it doesn’t have the resources to monitor the subtle changes in the lives of soldiers and veterans.

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