New York State Health Foundation

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Initiative for Returning Veterans and their Families

As a component of NYSHealth’s priority to Integrate Services for People with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Use disorders, the Foundation identified returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families as a high-need, population who have unmet reintegration needs, including health, mental health, and social service needs.

National data show that one in three Iraq veterans will face serious psychological injury including depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or anxiety. Returning veterans who do not receive timely and appropriate care for mental health issues are at risk for chronic mental illness, substance use issues, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, and even suicide. With thousands of returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in New York State, NYSHealth is playing a catalytic role in ensuring that veterans and their families receive the comprehensive reintegration services they deserve. NYSHealth kicked off the $2 million NYSHealth Initiative for Returning Veterans and Their Families at an April 2008 press event in Rochester. The Initiative—which includes a first-of-its-kind statewide assessment of broad reintegration needs—focuses on the health, mental health and substance use issues experienced by returning veterans and their families because they are important public health issues requiring immediate attention and targeted resources in communities throughout New York State.