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BrAIve Fund Program - Mental Health Services for Military Personnel and Families

The United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties and a coalition of local agencies are helping military personnel and their families find the mental health support that they need before, during or after deployment to Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom or OIF) or Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom or OEF) thanks to a $240,000 grant from the BrAIve Fund and The Community Foundation in Jacksonville. 

The coalition includes:
The United Way Volusia-Flagler Counties
Community Foundation of East Central Florida
Coalition for the Homeless; Volusia Veterans Services
Flagler Veterans Services; Daytona Beach VA Outpatient Clinic
Orlando VAMC; Mental Health Association of East Central Florida
Serenity House of Volusia
Center for Business Excellence
One Stop Employment Division
Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare
America Red Cross
Family Support Services – Army Guard Unit
Domestic Abuse Council
The House Next Door. 

According to the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs there are about 4,400 OEF/OIF veterans from Volusia and Flagler Counties.  This calculates to an estimated 10,000 veterans and their family members living in our community.  The local VA clinic in Daytona Beach serves approximately 660 OEF/OIF veterans each year and the homeless shelters serving approximately 118 veterans.  The United Way and its coalition members determined that the greatest unmet need for many of these veterans, and especially for their families, was in the area of mental health and substance abuse treatment.  The Daytona Beach VA Clinic has case management and mental health services for veterans but has very limited resources for families.

“We are incredibly proud that we have been able to bring together this wonderful group of agencies to help our military families” said Ray Salazar, President of the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties.  “These families have given so much to our country and our community and we are proud to be able to help them acquire services that they need to help keep their families strong and ultimately build a better community.”

The first part of the program is to make sure to that our local agencies are culturally competent to the challenges and needs of this population.  For mental health providers a two day training in PTSD and treatment of the veterans with traumatic injuries as well as treating the care givers (family members) who provide care for severely injured veterans. The first day of training will help to merge the divide between military and civilian culture getting through the understanding of the military culture of someone who has been in the war zone and accustomed to the language.  Approximately 200 mental health professionals and nonprofit employees will gain military cultural competency allowing the community to better serve OEF/OIF veterans.  The second day of training experts from SAMSA will focus on PTSD and dealing with traumatic brain injuries.  Approximately 100 mental health professionals will gain understanding of PTSD and the impact of reintegration on the family. 

The grant provides 1240 hours of therapeutic mental health services or family counseling for 310 individuals and provides support groups for families serving 90 people with a total of 126 group therapy sessions.  In addition, support groups especially for children will be offered to approximately 30 children in the two county areas.  Serenity House will also be able to provide residential substance abuse treatment for 3 months for up to 8 veterans.

Therapy sessions will be provided by local, licensed and trained Mental Health Therapists through local agencies.  In total, over 400 individuals will receive the mental health services that are needed to help these families who have proudly served our country and our represented our community.

If you or someone you know are in need of help, please call 211 (386-253-0564) to get connected and get answers.

Other phone numbers:
House Next Door – Deltona   386-860-1776
                                  DeLand   386-738-9169
Mental Health Assoc – 386-252-5785
Serenity House – 386-258-5050 x. 10
Stewart-Marchman-Act - 1-800-539-4228


For more information about this program, please contact:
Contact:Tim Sylvia, Director of Community Investments – 386-366-9070 or tsylvia@unitedwayvfc.org


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