The state of Maryland is home to 500,000 veterans, representing over 8% of the state's population. More than 40,000 active duty or Guard/Reserve component service members deployed from Maryland to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. Thousands of these service members have already returned to civilian life, and these numbers will continue to increase with the recent drawdown of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veterans bring many strengths to our state, including international experience, leadership skills, teamwork, and focus. However, the recent intensive and sustained military operations have created significant stressors for some service members, veterans, and their families. Thousands of these men and women have experienced multiple deployments and faced the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life. A major problem in the field of behavioral health is the limited supply of professionals trained to identify and address veterans’ behavioral health needs within a military context.
Addressing the special needs of military members and veterans, Governor O’Malley signed the Maryland Veterans Behavioral Health Act in 2008 and Lieutenant Governor Brown chaired the Veterans Behavioral Health Advisory Board. In 2012, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) funded a two-year project, the Maryland Veterans Resilience Initiative (MaVRI), to strengthen mental/behavioral health services for returning service members, veterans, and their families.
MaVRI includes four components: an Advisory Council, a statewide Needs Assessment survey, provider trainings on behavioral health issues facing veterans, and student veteran peer support on Maryland college campuses. Please follow the links on the left-hand menu for more information about each component of MaVRI.