A story from City of Lakewood.
LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The South Sound Military and Communities Partnership (SSMCP) invites the public to its virtual half-day Behavioral Healthcare Forum on Oct. 29 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. via Zoom.
The goal is to convene behavioral health and social service professionals to educate civilian providers on the military healthcare system. JBLM service providers will better understand civilian services and how military families can access them.
This event will also include an open forum to discuss barriers to mental healthcare. Active duty service members, military spouses, veterans, and their families will attend. Attendees will be eligible for door prizes.
The forum was curated by SSMCP’s Healthcare and Social Services Workgroup Chairs:
- Steve O’Ban, Senior Counsel, Pierce County Executive;
- Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO of United Way;
- Dr. Nichole Ayers, Director of Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities; and
- Amanda Kirilenko, Community Relations Director at CarePartners Senior Living.
The pandemic has exacerbated mental health challenges. In Washington alone, there are more than 600,000 veterans and active-duty service members, many of whom have experienced trauma related to their service3. Families of veterans and service members may also have mental health needs. Despite the vast need, many veterans with mental health issues are not receiving care due to barriers such as stigma, cost, and access.
The forum will forge collaboration of civilian and military professionals to understand local protocols and barriers to behavioral healthcare and social services. The goal is to improve access to care for military members, veterans, and their families.