Earlier this week, Senate Mental Hygiene Chair David Carlucci held a hearing related to Veterans Mental Health. Senators Addabbo and O’Mara also participated. We were very appreciative of the opportunity to testify at the hearing.

While certainly suicide prevention is in the forefront of our testimony, we highlighted four specific areas—1) The work of the Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project (several of which are embedded in local MHAs), 2) The importance that Mental Health First Aid has in educating Veterans, their loved ones and others involved in veterans programs in the community, about mental health and responding to a mental health related crisis, 3) Highlighting how significant Mental Health Education in School is for those individuals who graduate from high school and go directly to the military. For many of those individuals that will join the military, mental health in school will be the first time they will have exposure and understanding of mental health issues. 4) The importance of family engagement and the whole health approach to wellness as exemplified in MHANYS CarePath Product Line.

This coming Monday is Veterans’ Day. I am honored to be the son of someone who served in World War II as part of the ‘Greatest Generation’.  Through the Dwyer Project and other military mental health initiatives, many of us at MHANYS have had the opportunity to meet veterans and active duty individuals. It has been a great honor to have met these courageous men and women.  As Senator Addabbo put it at the hearing, ‘Everyday should be Veterans Day’  Couldn’t agree more.

Our testimony is attached.