We are so grateful to Montana’s veterans and their families. They are a critical part of our mission at NAMI Montana. I know that I personally would not be at NAMI Montana, if I hadn’t believed in the summer of 2008 that NAMI Montana could be a a powerful force to improve the veterans mental health.
I believed then and I still believe today that NAMI Montana’s combination of both support, education, and advocacy provides an amazing vehicle for helping our state and nation’s veterans.
We are grateful to everyone who has supported our work for veterans and their families. In particular, the Trans-Montana charity snowmobile ride that raises funds specifically for NAMI Montana’s work for veterans and youth..
One of the main efforts to support veterans that we’ve been working on in the past two years was bringing critical recommendations from the Creating Options for Veterans Expedited Recovery Commission report and recommendations from the VA’s National Research Advisory Council into this Legislation in the Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to Personnel Who Served (GHAPS) Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
Here are the four sections of the bill that we worked on:
Sec. 401. Analysis of feasibility and advisability of Department of Veterans Affairs providing evidence-based treatments for the diagnosis of treatment-resistant depression.
Sec. 402. Modification of resource allocation system to include peer specialists.
Sec. 403. Gap analysis of psychotherapeutic interventions of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 502. Exclusion of application of Paperwork Reduction Act to research activities of the Veterans Health Administration.
These are tangible steps forward to care for our nation’s veterans. We were hopeful the bill would pass earlier in 2022, but we still believe that it is going to become law either this year or the beginning of the next.
We also have another exciting announcement for our advocacy to improve mental health care in the Department of Defense which is also set for early 2023.
NAMI Veteran Highlight: Ryan Rector
NAMI Montana has been delighted to welcome Ryan Rector as an intern this fall. Ryan is a Marine combat veteran who is currently working on this bachelors in Social Work at Carroll College.
Ryan has been phenomenal to work with. He has strong visions for how our nation can better serve our servicemembers and veterans. We can’t wait to see what the coming years hold for him.
NAMI Veteran Highlight: Thomas Camel
Thomas Camel is a long-time friend of NAMI Montana and helped open the 2022 Montana Conferences on Mental Illness.
Thomas is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes, Vietnam veteran, former counselor, and cultural consultant. Volunteer for Missoula Veterans Court painting feathers and singing songs to honor veterans.
Thomas worked with his friends on video above to honor veterans, their families, and the people who love them.
Thank you again to our veterans, their families, and the people who love them. Thanks also to everyone who gives in order to support our veterans advocacy efforts.
As the Executive Director of NAMI Montana and an Army veteran, I am forever grateful for it.
Matt Kuntz, J.D.