Gov. DeSantis to announce free mental health services for veterans

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DeSantis talks at Lee Health about mental health services for veterans.

Governor DeSantis and Executive Director Burgess joined Lee Health and Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program. to announce partnership offering mental health services for veterans and military families who call Southwest Florida home – at no cost.

Mental health services will be available at the Lee Health Behavioral Health Clinic beginning Monday, November 11th.

“As an Army Reserve Captain and former state legislator, I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve those who served us,” said Danny Burgess, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “I’m proud to join Governor DeSantis today to salute our state’s 1.5 million veterans and thank them for ensuring the freedoms we hold so dear.”

LINK: Visit the Home Base for information on access to free mental health care.

Armondo Hernandez is a veteran from Southwest Florida and for him, serving our country runs in the family, “My grandfather served in World War II.”

“I don’t think it’s a secret that Florida struggles a little bit when dealing with mental healthcare,” he added.

Hernandez served in the Marines from 2003 to 2007, which took him to Iraq. For him, coming home wasn’t easy, saying, “For my first few years, I really struggled to find my way.”

He now serves as Home Base Southwest Florida program director. A non-profit that helps veterans and their families adjust to life after serving.

The clinical program at Lee Health will offer a multidisciplinary approach to care and complement Home Base Southwest Florida’s Warrior Health & Fitness Program, which has served as a platform for more than 250 local veterans to come together, reconnect with other members of the military community and embark on a path towards long-term wellness. Through the Warrior Health & Fitness Program, physical health goals like losing weight, gaining muscle, eating healthier, and managing pre-existing injuries and health issues are common, but the program also includes mental health and wellness goals.

Previously, those seeking clinical care could access mental health services through Home Base’s two-week intensive clinical program headquartered in Boston, MA.  These services will now be available in their home community at Lee Health.

Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has launched Forward March, an initiative that aims to unite the combined energy and resources of Florida’s state agencies, veterans’ service organizations, private partners and local communities.

The initiative works to ensure the state of Florida is providing the very best services and support for our veterans. The Governor also spearheaded the creation of the Governor’s Initiative on Lawyers Assisting Warriors (GI LAW). GI LAW began accepting pro bono legal services requests from active duty service members in May 2019, and to date, seven statewide law firms have provided free legal representation to over 60 service members.

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