Supervisors Approve Program to Train Veterans to Mentor Other Vets

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–– The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors today approved a program to train veterans, military family members and other personnel to assist veterans in dealing with the emotional and mental health issues experienced by some former military personnel.

“With five military bases in our county, including Fort Irwin and Twentynine Palms where many soldiers and Marines were trained for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, we have numerous veterans who have experienced heavy combat and are now wrestling with the stress and strain on their mental health and on their family lives,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who served as a Marine in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. “This training will help veterans to recognize potential problems in their colleagues and help them implement personal strategies to handle those problems. This is part of an ongoing commitment by the County to partner with the military and surrounding communities to provide the best possible services to those who have risked their lives on our behalf.”

The Board agreed to increase the contract with Trauma Resource Institute by $145,892, which is fully funded by Mental Health Services Act Innovation funds.  The increase will allow for about 30 veterans and 17 contract personnel, military personnel and/or their families to be trained in techniques to control stress and maintain general wellness for those who have experienced traumatic events, as well as their family members. It is expected that those who undergo the training will be able to train up to 200 others per year throughout the broader military community to overcome the challenges they face and build healthy lives.

The program is part of a suite of services developed in partnership with the County’s Department of Behavioral Health, Veterans Affairs, the military bases and community organizations. There are nearly 120,000 veterans in the county, representing service going back to World War II.

For information related to the training, contact the Department of Behavioral Health Office of Innovation at (909) 252-4006. To learn more about available veterans services, please contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at (909) 387-5516 or toll free at (877) 4SB-VETS.

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