Our military personnel and their families are heroes who risk their lives in their mission to protect our freedom. There is a strong commitment to ensuring they have the resources they need to complete the mission and return home safely, but a safe return home does not always ensure that they have the services and support they need. The two most common health issues diagnosed in service members of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who seek care at the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are musculoskeletal and mental health problems. While excellent systems exist to treat the physical wounds, treating behavioral health problems is often complicated by barriers including stigma, lack of behavioral health providers, and lack of coordination between federal, state, and local systems of health care.
This report summarizes the findings of the NCIOM’s Task Force on Behavioral Health Services for the Military and Their Families and the task force’s recommendations to improve the provision of services and supports to meet the behavioral health needs of service members in the state when federal resources are not available.
Based on the task force’s recommendations, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Session Law 2011-185. It was signed into law by the Governor on June 20, 2011.