Pennsylvania has nearly 1 million veterans living within our communities; this is the fourth largest Veterans population in the country. Ultimately, after a decade of war and an unprecedented number of combat deployments our service members, veterans and their families are facing the consequences of the invisible wounds of war. The Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services is collaborating with other state and community partners and is committed to address the varied needs of our veteran population.

PA’s Veterans population:

  • PA has nearly 1 million Veterans
  • PA has the fourth largest Veterans population in the country
  • PA has over 19,000 men and women serving in the National Guard
  • The PA National Guard has deployed over 36,000 individuals during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts
  • PA is home to almost 700,000 wartime veterans
  • 70% of PA’s Vets are over the age of 55

Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans Services 
On November 11, 2013 Governor Corbett established the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Services to encourage government agencies to cooperate in sharing information and enhancing services for PA’s Veterans and their families, including Veterans with mental health and/or substance use disorders. 
Governor Corbett’s Executive Order

PA CARES Task force: Returning Military Personnel
Pennsylvania Americans showing Compassion, Assistance, and Reaching out with Empathy for Service Members (PA CARES)

OMHSAS has joined with various state and local agencies to form a voluntary advisory and action task force to assist veterans and their families with a successful reintegration back to their families and communities. 
This task force meets regularly to network and work collaboratively to develop initiatives to meet the needs of service members, veterans and their families. They will conduct evaluations of its initiatives and use consumer feedback to improve them. The task force also will identify avenues to bring resources to service members, veterans and their families as well as respond to requests for assistance.
For more information contact OMHSAS at 717-346-0359

Military Cultural Competence Training
Free Military Cultural Competence training is now available on-line for persons who provide services and /or assistance to our service members, veterans and their families. For individuals looking to increase awareness and skill set, wanting to provide better assistance and services to those who have served our country try the “Military and Family Behavioral Health“ online program, it is an easy and efficient way to start.

To access these courses and others, go to the PA Department of Health’s Learning Management System (LMS) at and create an account.

Department of Human Services Press Release

In the fall of 2013 OMHSAS held a series of forums that offered education and practical resources that veterans, family members and behavioral healthcare providers can use in their daily lives to address the myriad of issues veterans experience as they return home. Below is a list of providers who attended one of the forums.

PA Veterans Forum: Community and Connections Attendees

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a cognitive-behavioral treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). CPT was developed in the late 1980s and has been shown to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms related to a variety of traumatic events including child abuse, combat, rape, and natural disasters. CPT is endorsed by the US Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies as a best practice for the treatment of PTSD. CPT is an empirically-supported treatment for Veterans with PTSD.

Pennsylvania Providers of CPT

Veterans Peer Support 
Certified Peer Specialists fill a unique role among behavioral health and human services practitioners in providing quality supportive services to persons in recovery. Drexel University in conjunction with OMHSAS has developed a 2-day 12-hour Veterans Certified Peer Support Enhancement Curriculum training.

This training opportunity is intended for Certified Peer Specialists who are veterans and/or who are interested in supporting Veterans, family members and people in the military. It will provide a selection of information, tools and resources necessary to meet the needs of Veterans and Military Service Members. Regional trainings will occur in the summer of 2014.

Veterans Involved or At-risk of Becoming Involved in the Criminal Justice System 
OMHSAS is collaborating with a host of agencies on a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to divert military Veterans with trauma-related mental health and/or substance use disorders from the criminal justice system. The grant is being piloted in Philadelphia and Allegheny County. Veterans jail diversion efforts will be expanded to other counties in FY 2014-15.


Pennsylvania Veterans' Trust Fund
The mission of the Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF), administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), is to assist and support Pennsylvania veterans and their families. The VTF issues grants to statewide charitable organizations that support veterans, veterans service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs to assist veterans in need of shelter and necessities of living.

For more information click here

For additional information on PA CARES click here