Services provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
The VA provides the largest network of care facilities in the world, specifically aimed at our nation’s veterans. Medical centers and clinics span the country, providing physical and mental health care. Because the VA has been working to train all providers in evidence-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the VA mental health programs are a key resource in finding effective therapy (http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/where-to-get-help.asp). VA centers are a confidential option for combat veterans, and they also provide family care. VA benefits include a range of educational, financial, and other services. Some example programs include PTSD psychoeducation and the VA PTSD program locator (http://www.ptsd.va.gov); the Veterans Justice Outreach program, created to help struggling veterans get into care instead of into the legal system; and a toll-free 24/7 Veteran Crisis hotline, offered in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255, press 1 for veterans).
Services provided by the US Department of Defense (DoD)
The DoD is another large provider of resources for this cohort. Military One Source offers 24/7 assistance for troops, families, and veterans. The DoD Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury created the Web site afterdeployment.org (http://www.afterdeployment.org) as well as a wealth of other programs and services. The National Guard Bureau supports Family Assistance Centers in all 50 states and provides family services for all branches of the military. In addition, it hosts Yellow Ribbon Reintegration events, before and after deployment, to facilitate the reintegration process.
Services provided at the state level
In addition to offerings by the DoD and the VA, states offer a wealth of services at the local level to veterans and families. Each state has its own office of Veterans Affairs that provides additional services and connections to Veteran Service Offices, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Modern Warfare, and Disabled American Veterans. These organizations can serve as advocates for veterans and families.
Almost all states support a 2-1-1 information and referral line provided by United Way and the AIRS Corporation to help state residents find local services to meet a wide range of needs. Because community services and members recognize what is needed, many states and regions have created community-based network programs (eg, http://www.vtmfcn.org, http://www.mainemcn.org) and other initiatives to ensure that troops and their families are provided the services they deserve. Some sample programs include the Home Base Program (http://www.homebaseprogram.org), Give an Hour (http://www.giveanhour.org), and the Military Child Education Coalition (http://www.militarychild.org).