SEATTLE, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to the call of a growing crisis — the unmet behavioral health needs of returning soldiers, veterans, their families and families of the fallen in the Pacific Northwest, the State of Washington and the Puget Sound Region — the Invictus Foundation announced today that it is launching the Welcome Home Network. The Welcome Home Network will recruit and educate volunteer behavioral health professionals, who will become part of a network whose goal is to bridge the gap in behavioral health services for soldiers returning from service, veterans and their families. Among troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, approximately 40 percent of soldiers, a third of Marines, and half of the National Guard members report psychological problems, but behavioral health services are in short supply.
"Challenges like PTSD or depression are natural responses to some of the most stressful events a person can experience," said Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "I applaud the efforts of organizations like the Invictus Foundation, who are working hard to ensure that those affected by these illnesses can get care, can get better, and can get back to their lives. The mental health needs of the veteran population are complex and will continue to grow following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need government, non-profit, and private sector providers to work together in order to truly meet the needs of our veterans."
"We want to normalize what our military personnel and their families are experiencing and support the sacrifices that they are making by providing critical behavioral health support at no cost," said Peter J. Whalen, Founder and CEO of the Invictus Foundation. "We will be educating the military community and broader public about these behavioral health needs in hope of helping veterans keep their lives and families intact. We are in it for the long haul and are acting with the urgency this crisis deserves." The Welcome Home Network is recruiting behavioral health professionals to volunteer one hour each week for a minimum of one year to provide direct services in person, by phone or in consultation with schools and community organizations that serve the military community. To find out more about the Invictus Foundation's Welcome Home Network please visit their Web site at http://www.invictusfoundation.org/whn.
To assist in its efforts with building out its Welcome Home Network the Invictus Foundation has entered into a collaborative effort with the Washington State Psychological Foundation and its affiliated Psychologists for Social Advocacy (PSA) to invite behavioral health professional in the State to join the Welcome Home Network and educate them about the behavioral health needs of U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The WSPF and members of the PSA bring strong ties to the psychological community and will actively encourage psychologists to join the network.
"We're privileged to be able to give something back to our troops, but we know there's still much more to be done," said Dr. Tim Popanz, Chairman of the Washington State Psychological Foundation. "The WSPF is fully committed to assuring access to behavioral health services is expanded to members of the military, veterans, their families and families of the fallen." To find out more about the Washington State Psychological Foundation's mission please visit their Web site at http://www.wspa.org.
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SOURCE Invictus Foundation