$2.4 Million In Grants Available For Non-Profits Who Work With Veterans & Their Families

The money will be distributed by the Maryland Department of Health.

Baltimore, Md (KM) Non-profit organizations around the state which work with military veterans and their families experiencing mental health or substance use disorders are invited to apply for matching grants from the Maryland Department of Health. The agency has received $2.4-million from the Sheila E. Hixson Behavioral Health Services Matching Grant Program for Service Members, and Veterans. “And it’s a competitive matching grant program for local non-profit organizations to establish or expand community behavioral health program to serve the needs of our service members and our family members,” says Joy Ashcraft, the Director of Maryland’s Commitment to Veterans which is part of the State Health Department.

She says a number of veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder, and not all of them were deployed with their units or experienced combat. “Those who have served statewide can also acquire PTS symptoms because of traumatic events that they’ve witnessed  stateside, including military sexual trauma or supporting remotely,”: says Ashcraft.

In some instances, she says there’s often a stigma of  asking for help among veterans  and uniformed service members. “There’s misunderstanding of ‘will I lose my security clearance if I seek care,’ or ‘will my leadership  hold this against me?’ So there’s a lot of concern around that,”: says Ashcraft.

She says the top brass in the military and veterans agencies are encouraging uniformed personnel and veterans to seek  the help they need for mental health or substance use disorders.

But Ashcraft says these men and women would like to speak with counselors who understand the challenges of serving in the military. “Base understanding of military culture, veterans culture. What it means to be a spouse or child of someone serving in the uniformed services,” she says.

Any local non-profit interested in applying for these grants can go on line to find out more information (health.maryland.gov/bha/veterans). The application deadline is November 6th.  Ashcraft says award letters are expected to go during the first of the year 2024.

The successful applicant will be able to  provide services such as screening for mental health, substance use or co-occurring disorders. They can also provide case management, certified peer recovery specialists and the use of telehealth.  The delivery service must be trauma informed, culturally competent, client centered and evidence based, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

By Kevin McManus