Mental Health Awareness Month: A Focus on Veterans and Their Families with Kyle Mitchell

Texas is proud to be home to the second largest population of veterans in the country, and we have an obligation to care for those who have served bravely, and the people whose support made that possible.

Five years ago this month, the Texas Legislature once again demonstrated our state’s commitment to Texas veterans and their families by creating and funding the Texas Veterans + Family Alliance (TV+FA) grant program to support community mental health programs for veterans and their families.

TV+FA provides $20 million from the state budget that is matched by another $20 million in local and in-kind funds to provide a wide range of services including: evidence-based therapies and treatment; individual, group, and family and couples peer support services; individual and family counseling; suicide prevention initiatives; support services essential to mental health services, such as child care, emergency financial support, transportation and housing assistance; and navigation services such as case management and referral services.

To date, this critical program has provided a total $114 million in funding across 74 grants and that will have helped more than 67,000 veterans and family members.

In addition to their other grant programs, the Texas Veterans Commission also provides Veteran Mental Health Grants to organizations to address the mental health needs of veterans and their families through direct services such as clinical counseling, peer delivered services, and non-clinical support services.

In the time of COVID-19, these programs for veterans and their families have never been more important. As the Bob Woodruff Foundation noted in a discussion on their recent research paper: “emergent trauma, loneliness due to social isolation, and unplanned wage loss or job termination can create or exacerbate mental health challenges for veterans … accessing mental health services was already an area of concern for the veteran population, and now, there may be a surge in demand for these resources.”

If you know a veteran or family member that needs help now, please direct them to one of the grantees in their area so they can get the help they need.