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Vibrant Emotional Health and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Awarded 3 Year Contract to Provide Mental Health Awareness Training to Veterans’ Service Provider Networks

New York, NY – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded Vibrant Emotional Health, formerly the Mental Health Association of New York City, a grant to train individuals to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and establish new pathways for veterans, service members and their families to access services and supports for those in need. This grant is partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

The purpose of Veterans Mental Health First Aid Training is to:

1. Train individuals providing direct services to veterans to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, particularly serious mental illness and/or serious emotional disturbance;

2. Establish linkages community-based mental health agencies to refer individuals with the signs or symptoms of mental illness to appropriate services.

Veterans, service members, and military families face unique challenges when they or loved ones need behavioral health services. 31% of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan report mental health conditions and traumatic brain injury, yet fewer than half seek treatment (RAND, 2008). Insufficient capacity to address the needs of service members returning home, coupled with a lack of understanding among veterans, service members and their families about behavioral health disorders, treatment options, and the stigma associated with both, contribute to under-utilization of behavioral health treatment.

Utilization and access to behavioral health services is further limited by a lack of awareness of military culture and an understanding of the unique needs of the military connected community by many community-based, non-clinical providers of service. Increasingly, veterans, service members and their families are turning to community-based organizations for employment services, housing/shelter, benefits navigation, financial management, legal services, help with basic needs such as food, clothing and utilities, as well as health and behavioral health services. 38% of veterans are not enrolled in VA services. Earlier identification and intervention are necessary to have an impact on the 20 veterans who die by suicide every day, as reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“To increase access to and utilization of needed behavioral health services, it is necessary to enhance mental health awareness of veterans, service members and military families, as well as the non-clinical providers serving this population,” said Kimberly Williams, President of Vibrant. “We are excited to be working with IVMF to launch the first Mental Health First Aid training in early 2019 to staff of its public-private partnership, AmericaServes.”

AmericaServes is a public-private partnership administered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. Each AmericaServes Coordination Center is independently linked to a variety of assets in its geographic service area totaling more than 1,000 provider organizations nationwide. Over a period of three years, Veterans Mental Health First Aid trainings for local network providers will occur in each of the AmericaServes sites, located variously in: Rhode Island, New York (NYC and Upstate New York), Pennsylvania, the National Capitol Region, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Washington State, Texas, and Oklahoma.

About Vibrant Emotional Health

Formerly the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC), Vibrant Emotional Health, is a non-profit organization that helps individuals and families achieve emotional wellbeing. For over 50 years, our groundbreaking solutions have delivered high-quality services and support, when, where and how people need it. We offer confidential emotional support through our state-of-the-art contact center and crisis hotline services that use leading edge telephone, text and web-based technologies and include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, NFL Life Line and NYC Well. Through our community wellness programs individuals and families obtain supports and skills they need to thrive. Our advocacy and education initiatives promote mental wellbeing as a social responsibility. Each year we help more than 2.5 million people live healthier and more vibrant lives. We’re advancing access, dignity and respect for all and revolutionizing the system for good. Visit for more. And follow Vibrant on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute, singularly focused on advancing the lives of the nation’s military veterans and their families. The IVMF is committed to advancing the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families. Supported by a world class advisory board and public and private partners, our professional staff delivers unique and innovative programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training to post 9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as tailored programs to veterans of all eras. The IVMF also provides actionable and national impacting research, policy analysis and program evaluation; and works with communities and non-profits across the nation to enhance service delivery for the 22.5 million veterans throughout the United States and their families.

About AmericaServes

AmericaServes is IVMF’s public-partnership, the country’s first coordinated system of public, private, and non-profit organizations working together to serve veterans, service members, and their families. Its vision is that every service member, Veteran, and their family can easily access the full range of comprehensive services required to achieve their unique goals, and to provide a first-class service experience to match service member and veterans’ first-class military service.

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