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Collaboration increases access to mental health and recovery services for veterans in Collier County

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-28 18:07:31-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Through a new collaboration with Wounded Warriors of Collier County (WWCC), David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) will establish a new Veterans Services Program designed to build meaningful partnerships with veterans and their families to help them function better at home, in the community, on the job, in educational settings and throughout life.

An anonymous supporter has generously donated $100,000 to launch the program to assist veterans suffering behavioral health issues including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and co-occurring substance use - challenges that are common among today’s combat Veterans returning from deployment. Funds were made available through a donor-advised fund with the Community Foundation of Collier County.

The program will develop a system of care that ensures availability of and access to a broad, flexible array of evidence-informed, community-based services and supports for veterans and their families that addresses their physical, emotional, social, and educational needs - including traditional and nontraditional services as well as informal and natural supports.

The funds will be used to hire a case manager who will be a veteran peer as well as provide incidental funding to assist veterans with emergency housing and food costs. The case manager’s primary responsibility will be to help veterans access evidence-informed, trauma-specific treatments. They will be part of a Veteran Peer Access Network, an industry best practice, which prioritizes hiring veterans as system navigators to connect their brothers and sisters in need with resources that will help.

Improving access to services for veterans as well as increasing evidence-based practices is outlined in Collier County’s new five-year strategic plan for mental health and addiction services. The Board of County Commissioners approved plan serves as a road map for community partners, donors and government leaders as they mobilize responses to address associated current and future challenges.