March 17, 2013; Source: PolicyMic

As of March 15, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can now, for a year following discharge, receive free mental health care through the New Mexico Veterans Counseling and Therapy Project (NMVC&TP). “This is the first collaborative effort between private and state agencies in the country to provide statewide pro-bono mental health counseling for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans,” according to Timothy Hale, the secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services. “Nearly 500 veterans in the state can receive the immediate help they need now rather than waiting for any veterans’ benefits paperwork to be filled out and processed.”

The program makes use of a broad network of providers in every county in the state and takes a broad view of its charge. The program’s work is seen as including efforts to address and prevent drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and suicide. –Ruth McCambridge