Through a new collaboration with Wounded Warriors of Collier County (WWCC), David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC), Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit behavioral health provider serving children, adults and families, will establish a new Veterans Services Program designed to build meaningful partnerships with Veterans and their families to help them function better at home, in the community, on the job, in educational settings and throughout life.
An anonymous supporter has generously donated $100,000 to launch the program to assist Veterans suffering behavioral health issues including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and co-occurring substance use—challenges that are common among today’s combat Veterans returning from deployment. Funds were made available through a donor-advised fund with the Community Foundation of Collier County.
The program will develop a system of care that ensures availability of and access to a broad, flexible array of evidence-informed, community-based services and supports for Veterans and their families that addresses their physical, emotional, social, and educational needs—including traditional and nontraditional services as well as informal and natural supports.
The funds will be used to hire a case manager who will be a Veteran peer as well as provide incidental funding to assist Veterans with emergency housing and food costs. The case manager’s primary responsibility will be to help Veterans access evidence-informed, trauma-specific treatments. They will be part of a Veteran Peer Access Network, an industry best practice, which prioritizes hiring Veterans as system navigators to connect their brothers and sisters in need with resources that will help.
An integral part of the Veteran Services Program will be to create an emergency team comprised of Veteran-based community partners including WWCC, DLC, Home Base SWFL, Collier County Veterans Treatment Court as well as Veteran advocates to assist Veterans in crisis. The Veterans Care Action Network will be led by the DLC Veteran case manager and will assist in the identification of Veterans and their families who may be at risk for mental health, physical health, vocational/educational, housing, employment, forensic/legal or other challenges.
“WWCC is excited to work in collaboration with DLC to provide additional resources for Veterans and their families living in Collier County,” said Dale A. Mullin President of Wounded Warriors of Collier County. “The need for this resource was identified by Veterans and families as one of the top two priorities families need during times of crisis. This resource will help save lives and support our mission of no Veteran left behind.”
Improving access to services for Veterans as well as increasing evidence-based practices is outlined in Collier County’s new five-year strategic plan for mental health and addiction services. The Board of County Commissioners approved plan serves as a road map for community partners, donors and government leaders as they mobilize responses to address associated current and future challenges.
“We are so grateful to the generous donor who provided funding to help launch these most important services for our heroes who served our country so valiantly,” said Scott Burgess DLC CEO. “This additional support will help many struggling Veterans in our community not only survive, but thrive and we couldn’t be more excited to be a catalyst in that process.”
Southwest Florida nonprofit David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) is a national leader providing compassionate, advanced, and exceptional mental health, substance use, and integrated healthcare solutions, available for children, adolescents and adults. DLC’s innovative treatment includes inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community-based services—a comprehensive system of care funded by community and government support. Each year, DLC serves more than 9,000 people through over 290,000 treatment sessions. To learn more, please call 239-455-8500 or visit www.DavidLawrenceCenter.org.