Mental health is essential to overall health. Everyone has had some experience with feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed emotionally, but if these feelings persist they can be a sign of a mental health illness. Left untreated, mental health problems can interfere with daily life, relationships, work, normal functioning, and cause pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her. Before, during, or after deployment, some service members may experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, TBI, or suicidal thoughts. A person's mental health is just as important as their physical health. The good news is that most mental health problems, even severe cases, are treatable. If you have any mental health concerns, or if you just need to talk with someone, mental health services are accessible.
If you are currently in an emotional crisis and need immediate help, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with a crisis counselor. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans choose prompt 1.
The Department of Mental Health (DMH) has created a "one stop" veterans' mental health web site that links to a wide range of resources including, mental health services, training, news, and information. Please visit: California Department of Mental Health/Resources for Veterans.
California's public mental health system offers services ranging from traditional mental health treatment, such as crisis intervention and medications, as well as a variety of rehabilitation services, to specifically address the recovery needs of adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances. Each county has an access telephone number, which can be called any time, day or night, for information on local mental health services. For more information on California County Adult Mental Health Services, please visit California Department of Mental Health/Resources for Veterans
Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other veteran organizations. Eligibility for most benefits and resources is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. See the VA's Mental Health website for more information.
Some programs are funded under the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), or Proposition 63. MHSA which passed in November 2004, increased funding, personnel and other resources to support county mental health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for serving children, transition age youth, adults, older adults, and families with mental health issues. The California Department of Health Care Services lists all county mental health departments on their website.
Coming Home Project is a non-profit organization devoted to providing expert, compassionate care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their care providers. Their programs address the emotional, social, moral, and spiritual injuries and the family challenges experienced during all stages of deployment, especially reintegration. All programs are free, confidential, non-partisan and non-denominational. For more information, visit www.cominghomeproject.net or call (415) 353-5363.
Give an Hour is a nationwide nonprofit organization that connects U.S. military personnel and loved ones affected by the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with a range of free mental health services in their communities. To find a provider in your area please visit Give an Hour
The Soldiers Project is a national network of licensed mental health professionals who offer free, confidential and unlimited mental and behavioral health services to Post 9/11 military service members (active duty, National Guard, Reserves and veterans) and their loved ones. Services are offered regardless of discharge status, branch of service, or deployment. For more information, please visit www.thesoldiersproject.org or call (877) 576-5343.
The Network of Care website provides a comprehensive listing of mental health and other resources for service members, veterans and their families. Visit Network of Care and click on 'Service Members, Veterans & Their Families in California.' Choose the county in which you reside, and click on 'Service Directory' to find the services that you need.
Discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions.
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