United Health Foundation has joined forces with New Jersey Hospital Association's (NJHA) Health Research and Educational Trust to improve veteran health programs and increase access to high-quality, community-based care for veterans and military families in underserved areas of the state. The $1.35 million partnership grant between NJHA and United Health Foundation will facilitate NJHA's use of a peer-to-peer model involving Veteran Navigators who help provide veterans and military families with access to high-quality, community-based mental health, behavioral health and supportive services.
According to the National Institutes of Health, military service members and veterans face unique health issues differently than civilians. The stressors of combat combined with separation from family can put service members and veterans at a greater risk for mental health issues. These include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and depression. According to a study commissioned by the Military Officers Association of America and United Health Foundation, there is a preparedness gap among most community-based mental health providers in being able to care for the special needs of military veterans and their families.
"The work of NJHA is improving access to care for veterans and military members," said New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. "NJHA's partnership with United Health Foundation is the type of public-private approach that will make a difference in the lives of our neighbors, particularly those with the greatest needs."