State task force will look at substance abuse, mental health care for military members, veterans and families

To help the increasing number of veterans and military service personnel who are needing treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues in Kentucky, a task force has been assembled to come up with strategies that show the most promise in providing care.

The team, made up of military personnel as well as health care experts, will go to a conference in Washington, D.C., to gain learn what is working elsewhere. The goal is to strengthen statewide behavioral health care systems and services, a press release from Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says.

Over the past three years, the number of veterans seeking mental-health care has risen dramatically, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. About 335,000 veterans live in Kentucky. There are also 45,000 active-duty personnel in Kentucky and about 8,400 members of the Kentucky Army National Guard and Kentucky Air National Guard.

“This is an extremely important and timely topic that requires collaboration across federal, state and local lines,” said Col. David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs. Task force members include Thompson; Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Kentucky adjutant general; state Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville; representatives from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, military and civilian health facilities and the Kentucky court system. (Read more)

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