When SAMHSA employees and contractors reported for work on Tuesday, November 9, each person found a button on his or her chair asking, “Have you thanked a Veteran today?” Beneath the button was a flyer inviting them to attend a SAMHSA Veterans Day Observance, which featured Korean War Veterans discussing their experiences on the 60th anniversary of that conflict. And on the back of the flyer was a list of SAMHSA employees who responded to our invitation to be listed as U.S. military Veterans, so that we could all take the opportunity to thank them for their service to our country.
Veterans Day, November 11, is the day set aside to honor all men and women who have served honorably in the military during times of both war and peace. Veterans and their families all deserve our thanks, but we also have an obligation to be there to “serve those who served”.
SAMHSA’s third Strategic Initiative , Military Families, strives to facilitate innovative community-based solutions that foster access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery services for Service Members, Veterans, and their families who are at risk for or experiencing behavioral health problems.
We are proud of all of our initiatives and partnerships that serve these populations. SAMHSA has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs to run the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK/8255) and with the National Guard Bureau to pilot test programs in New Mexico and Kansas that expand opportunities in the community to serve National Guard members and their families. In addition to SAMHSA’s initiatives through partnerships, some of SAMHSA’s programs that serve current service members, veterans and their families, include SAMHSA’s Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery program that prioritizes Veterans,the Access to Recovery program which serves to prevent substance abuse in National Guard communities, and SAMHSA’s new technical assistance center, with the goal of strengthening behavioral health care systems in States, Territories and Tribes. Serving our service members and their families is a top initiative for SAMHSA, so please join me this week in honoring all the men and women who have bravely and honorably served in the U.S. Military.
Have you thanked a Veteran today? And while you’re at it, please take a minute to thank their families, too.