California Veterans Health Initiative to Combat Suicide and Address Mental Health

Sacramento – Today, Governor Newsom announced $50 million for the establishment of the California Veterans Health Initiative (CVHI). The CVHI will deliver a comprehensive, coordinated statewide approach to ending veteran suicide by focusing on prevention, early intervention, and direct services to effectively combat the risk factors associated with suicidal ideation.

“On behalf of California’s veterans and their families, I would like to thank Governor Newsom and his Administration for their support of those who have worn this nation’s uniform. The Governor’s investment in the California Veterans Health Initiative displays his strong commitment to face a challenge that disproportionately affects California’s veterans and their families,” said CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani MD. “This is an unprecedented investment in the well-being of our veterans and their families, for which we are grateful.”

The CVHI will bolster awareness, outreach, and education efforts, as well as increase capacity through coordinated support of the community-based systems of care.

“It is vital veterans and their families have timely access to culturally competent mental health services,” said Keith Boylan, Deputy Secretary for Veteran Services. “The CVHI will support a structure that not only ensures help is there when most needed, but far upstream before challenges become emergencies, and worse yet, tragedies.”

The Initiative consists of three main components, including:

Outreach and Education Campaign ($5 million). The CVHI will strategically address the risk factors associated with veteran suicide through an awareness campaign that educates veterans, stakeholders, partners, and the broader community on the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes surrounding veteran suicide. The campaign will target prevention activities, and promote health and wellness.

Veteran Mental Health Support Network ($40 million). The Initiative would expand access to mental healthcare for veterans and their families by supporting a network of veteran-specific mental health clinics throughout the state. Crisis intervention and treatment would be inclusive, equitable, and available to veterans regardless of age, period of service, type of service, discharge status, or disability rating.

Veteran Suicide Surveillance and Review Program ($5 million). CVHI will establish a multidisciplinary team of professionals and stakeholders focusing on the identification and collection of veteran specific suicide data. Additionally, the team will coordinate a statewide assessment of veteran’s mental health and provide recommendations on future prevention, intervention, and post-intervention strategies.

For more information on the Governor’s 2022-2023 May Budget Revision, visit dof.ca.gov.​

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Link to NEWS RELEASE: https://www.calvet.ca.gov/Pages/NEWS-RELEASE-California-Veterans-Health-Initiative-to-Combat-Suicide-and-Address-Mental-Health.aspx

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