Massachusetts has close to 500,000 veterans; we owe each of these men and women an enormous debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf, but our appreciation cannot stop at “thank you.” Veterans deserve our full support when they leave the military, and there is more we can do to help many veterans deal with the challenges they face as they attempt to transition back into civilian life. As Governor, Martha will make it a priority to:
- Increase access to behavioral health care for veterans. Today, many veterans are living with mental health and substance abuse issues, and are often unable or unwilling to ask for help. By reducing the stigma around behavioral health among veterans, especially by involving peers, we can help prevent tragic consequences, including homelessness and suicide.
- Help connect veterans with the range of services available to them. One challenge facing returning veterans is that they don’t have anyone to help them navigate the web of public, private, and non-profit services that may be available to them. One of our first goals should be to ensure that every veteran knows of all the services available to them.
- Work with the business community and non-profits to open job opportunities for returning veterans, and ensure that they have the additional training and education to fill those jobs. Community colleges will also play a key role in this effort, by offering many veterans an affordable, flexible way to access critical post-secondary education.
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