HRET awarded federal grant to improve mental health services for Veterans

The Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, an affiliate of  the New Jersey Hospital Association, has been awarded a $375,000 grant from the federal government to address mental health care needs for veterans and the military community.

The grant, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will provide HRET $125,000 every year for three years and will be used to meet three goals:

  1. Increase understanding of mental illness among the military community;
  2. Improve the capacity to de-escalate crisis situations;
  3. Expand access to mental health services.

“We have the obligation to do the right thing on behalf of the men and women – and families – that serve our nation,” Cathy Bennett, CEO and president of the NJHA, said. “This grant affords us the ability to do the right thing, which is to use proven tools to address the ongoing mental health and substance use disorder crisis among the military community.”

One of the goals of the program is to train seven teams to provide Mental Health First Aid training, HRET said. The teams will complete a five-day training course from the National Council for Behavioral Health. HRET said it expects to train 1,260 people by the end of the three-year project.

“The Mental Health Association in New Jersey is looking forward to partnering with the New Jersey Hospital Association to provide Mental Health First Aid training to benefit our nations veterans,” Ruth Kaluski, director of Mental Health First Aid for MHANJ, said. “Under this initiative we will be able to provide an evidenced based curriculum to ensure that veterans, family members and service providers are as aware of the mental health issues veterans may face as they are of the physical challenges.”

HRET said it plans to work closely with the MJANJ.

“This opportunity to provide tools for crisis de-escalation and real-time, effective support for New Jersey’s military community will make a difference in lives across the state,” Mary Ditri, director of professional practice at NJHA and project director for the new grant, said.