VETERANS’ MENTAL HEALTH COALITION
Improving the mental
health of veterans and
Coping with the invisible wounds of war is the new front line for hundreds of thousands of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Sleepless, on high alert, living in fear or simply adjusting to life at home with their families, countless veterans are in need of behavioral health services and support. With the Veterans Administration straining to meet demand and many veterans’ preference for receiving care in the community, MHA-NYC recognized the need for the NYC community to be better prepared to respond to the challenges of veterans with behavioral health needs.
The Veterans’ Mental Health Coalition of New York City (VMHC), co-founded by MHA-NYC and NAMI-NYC Metro in 2009, is a leading voice in promoting the mental health and well-being of veterans and their families. With a diverse cross section of key stakeholders, the VMHC is disseminating information, resources and best practices as well as fostering needed practice and policy changes to improve care and support for veterans with behavioral health needs and their family members.
When President Obama issued an Executive Order directing all 152 VA medical centers nationwide to host Community Mental Health Summits, the Manhattan VA, turned to the VMHC to co-sponsor the Summit. In partnership with VA staff, NAMI-Metro, and the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, MHA-Staff co-facilitated sessions attended by over 130 individuals and service provider organizations to identify gaps and provide recommendations in key areas of need, including veterans in crisis, veterans returning to employment, and the needs of women veterans.