Knowing who to turn to for mental health treatment and support can be overwhelming for a lot of veterans. Distrust of providers, fear of family or community perception, or perceived lack of access to care are just a few barriers that veterans may have when accessing mental health resources.
Fortunately, there are trusted Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) across the U.S. which have programs and resources in place to connect veterans to the kind of care they need. A VSO is essentially an entity recognized by the VA as one that can help advocate on behalf of a veteran for obtaining benefits. They can help with everything from filing a VA claim to lobbying for pro-veteran legislation on Capitol Hill and are a great place to start when seeking mental health support.
Here are a few with great resources:
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. IAVA was founded in 2004 to support post-9/11 war veterans. Their Quick Reaction Force (QRF) provides confidential 24/7 support via Veteran Care Managers, who are veterans themselves and can connect former service members to a variety of resources depending on their unique needs. They offer immediate assistance or the option to schedule a conversation later. Along with mental health support, they can also provide financial assistance, or help with housing, among many other services. Veterans or their family members can call 855-917-2743 or visit www.quickreactionforce.org.
American Veterans. AMVETS got its start in 1944 when 18 veterans recognized a need to petition the federal government for their due benefits. Since then they’ve expanded to include any military veteran who has served honorably since WWII in their advocacy efforts. Their Heal Program offers free services to veterans to connect them with mental healthcare and other specialized services. The Heal Teams not only offer resources to veterans but troubleshoot the often complicated systems that they’re required to navigate to receive benefits. AMVETS also hosts Warrior Transition Workshops for combat veterans struggling with combat stress or reintegrating into regular life post-deployment.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The VFW can trace its roots back to 1899 when it was founded to help veterans receive their promised benefits after the Spanish-American War. Since then they’ve expanded their influence through legislative advocacy, initiatives to support women veterans, and monitoring the VA based on service members’ experiences. The VFW partners with a handful of organizations committed to serving the unique mental health needs of the military community. Give an Hour offers free mental health services to veterans, military members, and their families, regardless of whether they are eligible for DoD or VA benefits. Through Give an Hour you can search for a provider near you and tailor your search to match your specific care needs.
Searching out mental healthcare resources that meet your unique needs doesn’t need to be an exhausting process. VSOs can help take the guesswork and frustration out of finding support and services. With many offices nationwide and easy-to-access helplines, finding tailored mental health assistance is just a click or phone call away.
Made possible with support from Verizon.