Asking this Critical Question Can Make a Difference: “Have You or a Loved One Ever Served in the Military?”

This Veteran’s Day, make a commitment to change how you and others talk to veterans and military families. Community providers and peers can play a critical role in identifying service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF) of all generations who are accessing care in our communities and healthcare systems. When SMVF are not properly screened within our systems, we are missing an opportunity to connect with those individuals, inform treatment planning decisions, and help SMVF access care and benefits.

The American Nurses Association launched one of the first efforts of this kind over 5 years ago when they began their Have you ever served in the military? campaign. Leaders in the state of New Hampshire developed the Ask the Question campaign and are launching a toolkit designed to assist healthcare providers in the implementation of a consistent approach to pose the question and to then refer SMVF to appropriate care and resources. Throughout the country, the states of Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, and the city of Los Angeles have all implemented initiatives to integrate this question in screening practices.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) SMVF Technical Assistance Center will conduct a webinar that will provide guidance on how to implement this behavioral health priority. Presenters will outline concrete strategies that will enable stakeholders to develop a more coordinated system of care by connecting SMVF to available, military culture informed resources. The American Academy of Nursing Have You Ever Served in the Military campaign and New Hampshire’s Ask the Question campaign and toolkit will be featured.

 

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