Web Site Helps Connect Maryland Veterans to Behavioral Services

April 1, 2009
NewsChannel 8

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland has launched a web site that connects veterans with behavioral health services, the first state in the U.S. to do so.

After serving in Iraq, Chris Raschke faced some challenges just finding the resources available to him as a veteran. "I had no idea how to access my GI benefits. I had no idea where I could go to get the mental health help that I required."

He said it took him hours and countless phone calls to find those services. But now, Raschke and million of other U.S. veterans can now turn to the network of care web site.

"In 3 to 5 clicks, the veteran or their family can get the service that they're looking for in their local area, or the state or federal service that's out there for them," said Raschke.

The portal is a one-stop-shop, bringing together information that veterans and their families can access 24/7. From a service directory to a social networking link, the site covers all the bases and lawmakers say it's about time they made this type of improvement.

"These brave men and women who are returning to our community often return to us in need of care and unfortunately too many of them fall through the cracks of an outdated federal VA system," said Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Returning veterans have injuries both seen and unseen. Studies show that they have higher rates of suicide than in the past.