According to the Friday memo issued by Nevada County CEO Rick Haffey, approximately 10,319 veterans reside in rural Nevada County, of whom 13 percent are Gulf War veterans, 38 percent are Vietnam-era veterans, 16 percent are Korean War veterans and 14 percent are World War II veterans.
Access to mental health services is critical for the overall health of the county’s veterans, with early intervention being extremely beneficial, Haffey said. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other invisible wounds can affect a veteran’s readjustment in many ways — impairing mental and physical health and well-being, compounding the challenges of obtaining employment and housing and providing for basic needs. Troubled veterans are likely to be found in the court system, hospitals, jails or social services programs.
Many at-risk veterans in need of mental health support are not identified as veterans and are therefore not referred to culturally competent mental health services.
Veterans are most likely to seek mental health support if there is peer support. Peer support has been recognized as an important strategy in supporting the behavioral health needs of service members, veterans and their families.
Peers provide a bridge to services and help veterans transition to their communities. Those with military experience and experience with recovery from trauma, mental health or addiction issues offer valuable knowledge and skills to assist others. This support can be provided through a variety of established peer models. Thus, a veteran’s peer support program is a critical need in Nevada County.
To help address these gaps in service delivery, the Veterans Services Office will receive $25,000 from CalVet to help connect veterans to behavioral health and other support services. The VSO will partner with Welcome Home Vets to hire a part-time veterans outreach coordinator. This coordinator will focus on the following activities:
1) Identify veterans that may need mental health support; 400 veterans will be informed about available mental health and substance abuse treatment services. The veterans outreach coordinator will also educate 20 staff members of partner agencies on available services and referral options to veterans.
2) Increase collaboration among nonprofits and government agencies serving veterans. The coordinator will work with each partner agency to establish a referral system to connect veterans to mental health support. By working with the partners, deep relationships and agreements will be established, and veterans will have access and receive referrals through a variety of agencies, nonprofits and organizations.
Agencies will meet annually to address gaps and coordinate systems change in the outreach and referral process among agencies and nonprofits in Nevada County.
3) Work with veterans and community partners to establish a peer model support system.
In other county news:
— Teen Random Fandom Saturdays at the Madelyn Helling Library — The Madelyn Helling Library is sponsoring Random Fandom Saturdays, brought to you by the Teen Advisory Group of the western Nevada County libraries.
Every fourth Saturday of the month, visit the Teen Spot at the Madelyn Helling Library between 1-2 p.m. to discuss a book, television show or movie.
For January’s program, Sherlock Holmes is the theme. Stop in to talk about the TV series, books or movies about Sherlock Holmes and have a great time with some related crafts and snacks, as well.
This program is intended for grades six through 12 and is free. Contact Kim Farnsworth at 530-477-5790 for more information.
— Manga Club at the Grass Valley Library — Do you enjoy reading Manga (Japanese graphic novels) or watching Anime? The Grass Valley Library is starting a Manga and Anime Otaku Club for grades six through 12. If you have questions, contact Farnsworth.