NYU Langone’s Military Family Clinic Strengthens Partnership on Mental Health for Veterans

photo – Dr. Amanda Spray & Dr. Adam Wolkin

Seeking to further enhance mental health services for veterans and their families, the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS) signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing the existing partnership between the two organizations.

The memorandum of understanding acknowledges what had been in practice since NYU Langone established its Military Family Clinic in 2012—the two organizations will continue to assist each other in treating mental health issues for veterans and their families.

VANYHHS will continue to refer veterans and their families to the Military Family Clinic, a program that provides short-term mental health care at no cost as well as services including child, couples/partner, and family therapy, for which there is limited access through VANYHHS.

In turn, the Military Family Clinic will continue to refer veterans to VANYHHS facilities for treatment for additional mental health care as well as for other health care needs. In addition, the Military Family Clinic encourages veterans who have not yet enrolled with VANYHHS to do so in order to more fully utilize U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to which they are entitled.

Nearly one-third of the 15,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who live in the New York City area are troubled by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health challenges, including depression, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and family conflict. It is why all clinicians involved in this partnership agree it is critically important to make mental health services available as quickly as possible.

“We are very excited to formalize what has been in practice for several years now,” says Adam Wolkin, MD, associate chief of staff for mental health for VANYHHS and associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone. “The Military Family Clinic has been a valuable partner in meeting the growing demand for mental health services for our veterans and their families. This agreement is very much in keeping with the commitment of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to advance public–private clinical partnerships.”

The Military Family Clinic addresses mental health issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship and family conflict, and other issues common among veterans and military families.

“The referral partnership with VANYHHS provides our veterans additional follow-up care for specific mental health issues beyond the scope of the treatments that we provide,” says Amanda Spray, PhD, assistant director of the Military Family Clinic. “VANYHHS also is critically important for our patients who qualify for VA benefits who have non-mental health issues, or whose underlying medical conditions complicate their mental health status.”

NYU Langone and VANYHHS have had a longstanding affiliation for decades. Most of the physicians who practice at VANYHHS’s Manhattan facility hold academic appointments at NYU School of Medicine, and several NYU Langone researchers maintain laboratories at the VA’s Manhattan campus, which is a short distance from NYU Langone’s main hospital campus. The VA’s Manhattan campus also serves as a major teaching partner for NYU Langone medical students, residents and fellows.

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