Task Force on Behavioral Health Services for Military and Their Families

The Task Force on Behavioral Health Services for the Military and Their Families worked on developing recommendations to ensure that the mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services that are available to active, Reserve, and National Guard members of the military, veterans, and their families are adequate to meet the needs today and in the future. The Task Force focused on examining state services that can help address gaps in the availability of behavioral health services available through the military or Veterans Administration. Funding support was provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and human Services Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services through the North Carolina Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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Task Force Leadership

All Members

Co-Chairs

Grier Martin, JD, LLM

Representative

North Carolina General Assembly

William R. Purcell, MC

Senator

North Carolina General Assembly

 

Michael Watson

Deputy Secretary for Health Services

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Description

The North Carolina General Assembly directed the NCIOM to study the adequacy of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services funded with Medicaid and state funds available to active, reserve, and National Guard members of the military, veterans, and their families. The Institute was also asked to determine any gaps in services.(Section 10.78(ff) of Session Law 2009-451; Sections 16, 19 of Session Law 2009-574). The Task Force provided an interim report to the 2010 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly and a final report to the 2011 Session.

The United States Armed Forces include the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard. Each of these branches are represented in North Carolina. This task force focused on the needs of these servicemen and women, veterans and reservists, and their families.

North Carolina has the fourth largest number of military personnel in the country. There are currently 120,000 active duty personnel based at one of the seven military bases or deployed overseas. North Carolina is likely to receive 25,000 additional active duty members by 2011. Another 25,000 soldiers, marines and airmen live in all 100 counties of North Carolina and serve in the National Guard or Reserves. In addition, to the active military, there are 770,080 veterans who live in North Carolina.

Alcohol and drug use is a serious problem for many in the military. Almost one fourth of active duty military personnel and members of the National Guard reported alcohol abuse. Many of the returning veterans report post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and substance abuse disorders. Traumatic brain injury is another condition affecting a larger proportion of service members than the general population. TRICARE provides services to active duty service members and their families, and the Veterans Administration provides some services to certain veterans. However, the federally funded health services are not sufficient to meet all of the behavioral health needs of this population. State funded services can help fill in some of the gaps.

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