The state House of Representatives, Thursday, unanimously passed a bill that would create a program to treat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder using virtual reality therapy.
Under House Bill 36, sponsored by Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City, the program would be overseen by the Department of Veterans Services and held at the School of Social Work at Western New Mexico University.
In a statement, Hamilton said veterans have made great sacrifices “and we owe it to them to do whatever we can to give them the support and therapy they need.”
“They deserve a chance to return to normalcy and to enjoy their daily lives, without the lingering effects of PTSD,” she said. “I am sincerely grateful for their willingness to serve our great nation, and I am pleased to see this legislation passed with bipartisan support.”
Virtual reality therapy has been tested at Navy Special Warfare units in California, and the Veterans Affairs Midwest Health Care Network. The results have been favorable among veterans living with PTSD, with many reporting that they experience a decrease in depression and anxiety.
“The monumental success rate gives us no legitimate reason not to try this treatment for our New Mexico veterans,” Hamilton said. “If we can help our veterans in this way, we simply must do so.”
The bill will soon be heard in the Senate.