Military Service Members, Veterans and Their Families

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Behavioral Health and Rehabilitative Services for Virginia Veterans, Service Members and Their Families

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The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) values your military service. DBHDS staff members, and Community Services Boards statewide, work to ensure that you and loved ones can readily access behavioral health, developmental, and supportive services to reach your wellness goals.

If you are a military service member or veteran in a behavioral health crisis (experiencing suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and/or other concerns) please call the confidential Veteran Crisis Line 24/7, 1-800-273-8255 (PRESS 1) to speak to a caring responder. You can also TEXT the Veteran Crisis Line at 838255 for help.

For assistance finding behavioral health services and/or peer support in Virginia, please contact the Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program at 877-285-1299 or 804-371-4675 (Monday – Friday; 8am – 5pm EST).


  Ask The Question!


GOAL:  To improve service delivery and intake data accuracy for identified military Service Members, Veterans, and Families (SMVF) in Virginia's Community Services Boards (CSBs).


1. ASK “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?”rdquo;

  • This question should be posed at multiple entry points for CSB Services, i.e. call center, initial assessment, emergency services, clinical and medical assessments, and any other entry points.

2. LINK SMVF with a provider in your agency that has been trained in military cultural competency for needed services.

  • Direct service providers should assess for a connection between military service and service/support needs.

3. COLLABORATE with military/veteran specific resources to meet all service needs of SMVF. 

MILITARY CULTURAL COMPETENCE (MCC): When civilian service providers have an understanding of military culture to include organizational structure, rank, branches of service, core values, and demographics and enhanced ability to communicate and effectively interact with SMVF.

MCC TRAINING RECOMMENDATION: DBHDS and the Virginia Department of Veterans Services recommends that all CSB staff receive introductory MCC training to increase the number of SMVF identified at intake and to enhance service delivery and resource connections for this priority population. It is recommended that CSB staff receive one introductory MCC training at hire as part of new staff training and annual updates thereafter. It is also highly recommended that direct service staff receive more in-depth trainings in MCC, assessing behavioral health concerns among SMVF, and recommended treatments.

Virginia Behavioral Health Services Collaborative: Data and Services

For more information on free/online Military Cultural Competency (MCC) trainings:  MCC Resources



The Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) Program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Veterans Services the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, and the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

VVFS Eligibility:

  • Veterans of any era who are Virginia residents
  • Members of the Virginia National Guard (not in active Federal Service)
  • Virginia residents in the Armed Forces Reserves (not in active Federal Service)
  • Family members of veterans and service members

VVFS Services:

  • Comprehensive assessment of individual and family needs
  • Direct linkages to needed services including medical, behavioral healthcare, veterans benefits, housing, and employment assistance
  • Peer and family support groups
  • Couples workshops and family retreats
  • Assistance to homeless and incarcerated veterans

For more information on VVFS, please visit

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) has published a comprehensive Virginia Veterans Resource Guide that outlines employment, education, VA Benefits, behavioral health services, and much more!  Click to access the Guide.  For more information on DVS, please visit  or call 804-786-0286.



A Community Services Board (CSB) is the point of entry into Virginia's publicly-funded system of services for mental health, intellectual disability, and substance abuse services. For a map of CSBs in Virginia, please visit  CSBs provide pre-admission screening services 24-hours per day, 7 days per week. The CSB address list is available here.



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Treatment Facilities in Virginia are located in VA Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Network (or VISN 6). For more information on VA Medical Centers and other VA treatment facilities in Virginia, please visit

Military One Source offers free counseling and supportive services (family, employment, education, financial, legal, military deployment and transition support, etc.) for military service members, transitioning veterans, and family members.  Call 1-800-342-9647 or visit .

Operation Family Caregiver coaches the families of returning service members and veterans to manage the difficulties that come with returning home. OFC is a personalized program, tailored specifically to the struggles of each family. Through proven methods, the program teaches families the skills needed to best navigate their challenges, resulting in stronger and healthier families. To enroll, contact the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services centralized line: 1-877-285-1299. For more information, please visit

Veterans Affairs (VA) Coaching Into Care Hotline: 888-823-7458 (Monday – Friday; 8am – 8pm EST) for valuable information on discussing concerns and how to help your loved one seek behavioral health treatment and supports. For more information, please visit

Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Veteran Hotline: 1-877-424-3838 for access to homeless services programs and supports. For more information, please visit

Virginia 2-1-1 can connect you to additional community resources (emergency shelter, financial assistance, food pantries, and other supportive services), just dial 2-1-1 or search for local resources online at 



Psychosocial Benefits of Employment and Education for Veterans with Behavioral Health Concerns:  May 2015 Presentation to the advisory committee of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services by Dr. Alexa Smith-Osborne

RAND Corporation Study of Community Providers' Capacity to Treat Veterans and their Families:  In November 2014, a RAND Corporation study, commissioned by United Health Foundation in collaboration with the Military Officers Association of America, found that most community-based mental health providers are ill-equipped to address the special needs of military veterans and their families.  The data examined feedback from a survey of mental health providers nationally.


For additional information, please contact Rhonda Thissen in the DBHDS Office of Adult Community Behavioral Health at 804-786-2316. 


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