Veterans introduce a considerable part of the American population, and their mental health problems related to services and real-life experiences must be solved at different levels. Unfortunately, the gap in equity for mental health care access exists, challenging many individuals in a variety of ways. One of the current initiatives to address this gap was developed by AMVETS, also known as the American Veterans organization, to represent the interests of veterans since World War II. Healthcare Evaluation, Advocacy, and Legislation (HEAL) is a multi-pronged program launched in 2018 to save lives within the entire veteran community (Frieden, 2018). Although the circumstances, goals, and resources are properly identified in the HEAL initiative, some organizational challenges still bother many veterans.
HEAL is not the first opportunity to meet the needs of American veterans, but its goals and conditions continue attracting the attention of many stakeholders. AMVETS (2018) implements its ideas into a single program, which aims to support a better future for veterans by solving socioeconomic factors that may contribute to poor health. The program is a chance to promote a difference in veterans’ lives and help them solve their physical and mental health challenges. The HEAL team consists of clinical experts and case managers who work with veterans in different regions of the United States. They arrange round tables, meetings at town halls, and other public forums to get American veterans connected to the necessary healthcare services (Frieden, 2018). There is a hotline to ask for help whenever a person needs it. Free services are offered to all needy veterans on the basis of such core values as commitment, collaboration, people, and accountability.
The circumstances around the development of the HEAL initiative include the conditions under which veterans have to live after their military services. Some people are not able to find good jobs, deal with their memories, and become ordinary members of their society. AMVETS (2018) began the analysis of the military impact on the American population after World War II and found that many veterans from Vietnam were at higher risk of suicide because their needs were not met. A number of rampant barriers occurred and prevented veterans from obtaining high-quality care. AMVETS (2018) hired clinical and managerial experts to evaluate healthcare processes, advocate equal rights and opportunities, check the legitimacy of public decisions, and intervene if necessary. To fund this initiative, the organization initiates partnerships with the Department of Veteran Affairs, where public and private agencies ensure veterans’ safety across the country. State and country governments are involved in financing and delivering health services for veterans. Local communities participate in the development of treatment and award funds voluntarily. Policies and regulations are created to govern service delivery and monitor the work of care providers.
However, the chosen initiative is relatively new, and its goals and vision seem to be general and hardly achievable to their full extent. For example, the goal to increase access to community-based care for veterans is clear, but there is no description of how to organize these services. Collaboration is also the intention of the HEAL team, but not many clinical settings have enough free resources to enhance appropriate decision-making. In other words, the existing initiative requires improvements for its goals to be SMART and definite.
Today, many veterans expect help and support from their governments and communities. Their mental health is a serious burden, and multiple services and rehabilitation programs are required to solve problems and get treatment. The HEAL initiative by AMVETS is a good step to change the current situation in the United States and offer veterans the best quality care, including mental health services. Veterans have already contributed to their country’s development, and now, it is time for the country to repay and demonstrate its respect.
AMVETS. (2018). Health program: Strategic plan. AMVETS. Web.
Frieden, J. (2018). Initiative aims to help veterans with mental illness. MEDPAGE TODAY. Web.