Online Program

Serving together: Strengthening linkages between military families, clinical providers and community resources

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Sally A. Koblinsky, PhD, Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Suzanne M. Randolph, PhD, Center for Community Prevention and Treatment Research, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
Stefanie Moreno, LCSW-C, Serving Together, Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, Rockville, MD
Jessica McNurlen Fuchs, MA, CRC, Serving Together, Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, Rockville, MD
Meeting the behavioral health needs of veterans and service members, especially those returning from recent deployments, requires creating strong partnerships between community providers, military agencies, and military families. Adopting a public health approach to developing culturally-competent care for military populations, a county Mental Health Association launched Serving Together in 2011. This outreach program seeks to coordinate civilian and military resources, and provide high-quality, accessible behavioral health care in a county with 50,000 veterans and 500 wounded warriors at a national military medical center. An online needs assessment completed by 347 county behavioral health providers revealed that only 42% screened clients for military status. Between 23% and 38% reported extensive knowledge of treating conditions affecting veterans, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, anger, family stress/relationship problems, and suicide ideation. Less than 25% had extensive knowledge of Traumatic Brain Injury, sleep disorders, substance abuse, and military sexual trauma in this population. Between 10% and 38% of clinicians were confident in treating the latter conditions. This presentation will describe how the needs assessment and community partner input informed development of five interventions: 1) clinical trainings; 2) provider screening for military status, 3) military family mental health trainings to reduce stigma of care-seeking; 4) project website listing local services for military families and clinicians, and 4) peer navigation system to help veterans/troops/family members secure needed services and support. The presenter will offer lessons learned in the project's first two years, sharing a model that other communities can replicate to enhance military families' access to mental healthcare.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain how a needs assessment of community behavioral health providers can inform the implementation of targeted interventions to improve veteran/military family mental health. List four interventions of Serving Together, a community partnership that seeks to enhance mental health and support services for military families. Describe how a county-based website and peer navigation system can help veterans, service members, and families to access mental health services and reduce barriers to seeking care.

Keyword(s): Veterans' Health, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Evaluator of Serving Together, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, MD. I am also Principal Investigator of the Maryland Veterans Resilience Initiative, a university-state partnership that provides mental health training for providers working with veterans/veteran families, and develops peer support programs for student veterans at Maryland community colleges and universities. I have served on national,state, community, and university committees addressing veterans' issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.