Serving those who serve: Finding resources for veterans
By Heather O'Beirne Kelly
I hear from many practitioners that they’re interested in helping military and veteran clients find additional resources, but they don’t always know where to find appropriate services to supplement the care they’re providing. Now, there is a new (free) database tool, PATRIOTlink, developed and recently launched by the Code of Support Foundation (COSF) that can help with finding services. COSF’s executive director, Kristina Kaufmann, notes that the nonprofit “provides essential and critical one-on-one assistance to struggling service members, veterans and their families who have the most complex needs.”
After finding that her COSF case management staff were spending an inordinate, and often frustrating, amount of time trying to locate free or low-cost mental health, legal, financial and housing resources in their local communities across the country for military personnel and veterans in crisis, Kaufmann sought and was awarded philanthropic funds from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to develop PATRIOTlink, a “cloud-based resource navigation platform designed by service providers for service providers.”
Kaufmann notes that this new “strategically populated provider assistance tool empowers service providers to easily navigate and find resources for the service members, veterans and families they are assisting. This allows a service provider to perform searches that result in resources their client qualifies for, significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to find the often multiple resources their client needs.”
Practitioners can search for an amazing range of resources to fit an individual client’s eligibility and needs, from financial assistance to caregiver support, employment, housing, education and transportation. Unlike most other local and national directories of resources for the military and veteran communities, PATRIOTlink conducts rigorous and ongoing vetting of the direct service providers before allowing them in the database, to ensure that what is designed as a “warm handoff” to other providers will in fact be appropriate and successful.
While COSF is working with multiple large governmental and nongovernmental organizations to disseminate PATRIOTlink widely, including the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Labor, as well as the American Red Cross and military/veteran service organizations, COSF also hopes that individual practitioners will use the free database tool with their military-connected clients. Please take a few minutes to sign up online and start searching.
About the author
Heather O'Beirne Kelly, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and APA's first director of military and veterans health policy. Watch this space for regular updates on issues ranging from protecting the VA's integrated care system, to advocating for more attention to military sexual assault prevention, to encouraging more systematic training on evidence-based treatments.