Mental Health Collaborative

The Kaufman Fund Creates Mental Health Collaborative To Save Lives

Every day 20 Veterans die from suicide in the United States. Of the 20 Veterans who die from suicide, 14 of them are not enrolled in the VA health care system. In addition, 40,000 Veterans a day are homeless. As a society, we have an obligation to help and improve the lives of these Veterans who are suffering from mental health illness.

The Kaufman Fund recognizes this need and is doing something about it that will save lives of local Veterans!  The Kaufman Fund has created a collaborative with the Veterans Administration and five mental health service organizations in the St Louis area to provide help to Veterans of all ages by improving access to clinical services and mental health needs for Veterans and their families.  Veterans can now receive from the Department of Veterans Affairs information about and connection to services from a community provider as part of their VA CHOICE program. The services will offer Veterans the opportunity to be with someone who understands the military culture and military family of what these Veterans are dealing with.

Mental Health Collaborative

provide services and expand mental health access

The five agencies who have joined forces with the VA and The Kaufman Fund to provide services and expand mental health access are:

  1. Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS)
  2. Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri (LFCS)
  3. Missouri Veterans Endeavor (MOVE-STL)
  4. Provident Behavioral Health
  5. Louis Counseling (formerly Catholic Family Services)

This collaboration is set up to pick up and help those who may not know of or be eligible for VA services, with the goal that no Veteran would be without services.  A Veteran may not qualify for certain services due to his/her military discharge status, his or her time in service or due to his/ her status as member of the National Guard or Reserves. In addition The Kaufman Fund Mental Health Collaborative wishes to ensure that Veteran families also receive services.  

 

Overall, there is a lack of access to underserved Veterans and their families as well as a reluctance of Veterans to reach out to the VA because of prior issues/problems they may have experienced.  In addition, Veterans are a very proud group of people and are taught to “suck it up”, but when the problem affects the family is when they are more likely to reach out for help.

It is important to note that in a crisis situation, every VHA emergency department will deliver the appropriate level of care and sort out the eligibility issues later. No Veteran will be turned away from the VHA in a life-threatening situation.

Because the VA can’t be everywhere, that is why it’s important to have this strong community collaboration. There are also situations in which Veterans don’t want to receive services directly from the VA. In these situations, The Kaufman Fund Mental Health Collaborative can provide an alternative where the Veteran and their family can get immediate help.

The Kaufman Fund wants to get the word out to the Veteran community that there is HELP and there is HOPE available to the Veteran by a community that cares.  If you are a Veteran, or part of the family of a “Veteran in need” CALL this Crisis Number NOW!  

1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

One of the most effective means of getting the word out is to tap into those who interact with Veterans. The following referral sources we’ve identified to reach these Veterans, but we know there are more. The Kaufman Fund is looking for speaking opportunities to help get the word out to Veterans that there is help only a phone call away. 

If you can help us get the word out to the Veteran community, or have an interest in being a Donor or Sponsor please call 314 -753- 8355.  If you represent an agency that is in Southwest Illinois or in Eastern Missouri with appropriately trained counselors please let us know if you want to help our efforts.

 

Amongst the groups/organizations who we are reaching out to include the following:

  • Healthcare Community (Clinics)
  • Mental Health Association
  • National Alliance Mental Illness
  • Veterans referring veterans
  • Veterans Organizations (American Legion, VFW, Jewish War Veterans, AmVets, etc)
  • Clergy
  • First Responders (BackStoppers)
  • Universities and their veterans groups
  • Veteran’s Employers
  • Law Enforcement
  • Courts Systems
  • Donors and sponsors

Kaufman Fund Mental Health Collaborative Referral Guidelines

Referrals will be coming to agencies in one of the following ways:

  • A. The VASTLHCS determines that Veteran is eligible for choice/community based services. The VASTLHCS, or designated third party will provide eligible Veterans with a list of resources, including information regarding specific participating agencies. In certain cases, given geographic and/or travel restrictions or need for specialized clinical services, the VASTLHCS may make a recommendation of one specific agency. Engagement with any specific community agency/provider remains the choice of the Veteran.
  • B. If Veteran calls/walks into a specific participating agency:
    • a. Participating agency will ask Veteran is he/she is eligible for VA Services
      • i. If eligibility is uncertain, participating agency will provide resources to Veteran to help determine eligibility, including
      • ii. If Veteran eligible, but not interested in seeking services through the VA, the Veteran should be enrolled in agency services as appropriate, and be asked to release information to Missouri Veteran’s Endeavor , contacting Sarah McCabe at (314) 778 - 9498.