VA and Marine Corps leaders signed a memorandum of agreement (MOU) Nov. 8 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., establishing a first-of-its-kind partnership to deliver behavioral health and support services.
The MOU provides a structure for the VA and the Marine Corps to work together to advance and improve the quality of life of active duty and reserve servicemembers, as well as geographically dispersed servicemembers, veterans, and their families through the Vet Center program.
Dr. Steven Lieberman, VA’s deputy under secretary for health, and Michael Fisher, chief officer for the VA’s Readjustment Counseling Services (Vet Centers), joined representatives from Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs, including Marie Balocki, director of the Marine and Family Programs Division, at the signing ceremony to publicly recognize their partnership.
“We continue in earnest our combined efforts to support a ‘no wrong door’ approach for servicemembers to receive behavior health support, while aiming to utilize the right care, at the right level, at the right time,” Balocki told ceremony attendees.
VA officials are excited to work with the Marine Corps, Fisher told MOAA before the ceremony, adding that the department hopes to expand its relationship to the other services with the help of veteran and military service organizations like MOAA.
The MOU allows the VA to offer its Vet Center counseling and referral services to eligible Marines and their families, as well as to those who may be ineligible for Vet Center services because they were discharged under dishonorable conditions.
Both partners are seeking innovative and new approaches to expanding access to non-medical health care. Mobile Vet Center services will be available to Marine Corps personnel during training, drill weekends, and during other outreach events. The effort will support readiness and is expected to help improve servicemember and family mental health well-being and reduce suicide within the ranks.
The VA operates more than 300 Vet Centers, 80 mobile units, and numerous satellite locations throughout the U.S. and its territories. Centers help support currently serving members, veterans, and their families on or near bases, stations, or in their communities. Click here to learn more about Vet Centers or find a center near you.
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