Senator Zeldin Helps Secure State Budget Funds
April 5, 2012
(Albany, NY) The 2012-13 New York State budget includes a $1.3 million appropriation for veterans’ mental health programs, of which $500,000 will provide for the continuation and expansion of the Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative (VMHTI); a multiyear program to train community mental health and primary health professionals across the state to better assess and treat veteran specific mental health conditions.
“Senator Lee Zeldin was a key advocate for the continued funding of the VMHTI” says Reinaldo Cardona, Executive Director of the NASW-NYS Chapter. “Senator Zeldin has made it a priority to ensure that the mental health needs of his fellow service members from New York are being met with the highest quality services.”
More than 85,000 men and women from New York State have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Many of whom have been assigned to multiple deployments. The extreme strain of deployment(s) on service members has resulted in unprecedented rates of health and mental health problems, most notably, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). A 2011 assessment of The Needs of New York State’s Returning Veterans and Their Families conducted by the RAND Corporation found that 34% of respondents self-indicated a need for mental health treatment, yet there is an insufficient supply of providers who are adequately trained in meeting the needs of this unique and growing population.
“It has been an honor to help New York’s military veterans, who are willing to sacrifice so much for our country, get the assistance they need to cope with the long term effects of PTSD and TBI and transition back to the home front, “ said Senator Lee Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley). “ VMHTI is a key component in this transition and I commend Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the Senate, most specifically Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Senator Roy McDonald, Chair of the Mental Health Committee, and Senator Chuck Fuschillo, for ensuring its continued funding in the 2012-13 State Budget.”
The Veterans Mental Health Training Initiative was established by the NYS Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Medical Society of the State of New York and the New York State Psychiatric Association and to date has trained close to 1200 mental health providers across numerous disciplines.
The VMHTI has garnered national attention from organizations such as Army OneSource as a vital component in meeting the needs of our veterans and their families. “Army OneSource is excited to be a part of such an important Initiative in New York. As the Community Support Coordinator for New York and Pennsylvania, I plan on modeling this successful approach in the development of a similar initiative in Pennsylvania” states Stephanie M. Grimes of Army OneSource.