With over 131,000 veterans, Long Island has the largest veteran population in New York. An estimated 2,000 Long Island veterans are homeless or are living in transitional housing or shelters. Many veterans struggle to reintegrate into civilian life, often while coping with serious mental health issues. At the same time, many veterans are mistrustful of seeking mental health services from the Veterans Administration (VA), often due to fears that their information will be shared. Our grantmaking will continue to serve a range of organizations working to prevent veteran suicide, help veterans get the services they need to reintegrate into society, reconnect with their loved ones, and deal with the issues that keep them from moving forward in their lives.
Veterans often face ongoing mental health issues and/or physical injuries leading to different degrees of disability. Civilian readjustment, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression, as well as chronic debilitating combat related injuries have commonly been treated with prescription drugs that sometimes result in addiction. The Long Island Community Foundation is working with the Veterans Yoga Project to help their efforts to support veterans on Long Island with tools that help them breathe easier, focus clearer, move freer, rest deeper, and cultivate gratitude.
A grant from the Long Island Community Foundation helped launch an initiative to improve the health of veterans by addressing legal needs that endanger their health or interfere with their treatment and recovery. Northport VA Medical Center, working with Legal Health, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group, has become the Island’s first facility to introduce a medical-legal partnership for veterans.