The need for prior service members with mental health training is tremendous, and MSPP is one place Veterans can get that training in the company of other Veterans. In 2008, The Special Commission to Study and Investigate the Hidden Wounds of War on Massachusetts Service Members reported a high incidence of anxiety, depression, family disruption and brain injury suffered by Veterans of recent conflicts and identified best practices for delivering mental health services to this population and their families. The report mirrored national studies on mental health access for Veterans that concluded that, despite best efforts, Veterans experience significant barriers in accessing high-quality mental health care.
In response to this critically growing need, in 2009, MSPP applied for and was approved as an Institution of Higher Learning under the Yellow Ribbon Program of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Through this program, the school begun to attract former service personnel and reservists with an interested in careers in mental health care.
In 2010, MSPP issued a report to the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services (DVS) on the effectiveness of creating a program of behavioral health career development for returning Veterans, and in July of 2011, DVS awarded MSPP a contract for their “Train Vets to Treat Vets” initiative, which used current MSPP Student-Veterans to reach out to and mentor returning military Veterans who might be interested in careers in behavioral health.
In addition, a team of MSPP student Veterans and faculty has worked to develop the Military and Veterans Psychology curriculum to educate military and civilian graduate students to meet the mental health needs of Veterans, especially recent returnees, and their families. And, in partnership with the Mass Department of Veterans Services, MSPP’s Train Vets to Treat Vets (TVTV) program is committed to encouraging new Veterans to consider a rewarding career in mental health care, dovetailing with the Obama administration’s new initiatives to help create jobs for Veterans. MSPP students visit regional colleges to meet with undergraduate student Veterans to discuss careers in mental health. Through this partnership MSPP students are providing over 3000 hours of direct counseling to Veterans annually. In three years, the TVTV program has already expanded the quality and quantity of direct mental health services available to the area’s Veteran population and aided in the creation of a supportive learning community for our Veterans.
- Training students to become clinicians effective in working with Veteran populations
- Providing culturally competent mental health services to Veterans and their families
- Reaching out to Veterans to consider careers in mental health
- Providing a supportive community for student Veterans, family and friends of military personal, and for those interested in working with Veterans and military families
MVP Academic Concentration
MSPP Military Community
Out of a desire to create broad-based support for those who have served or have loved ones that served, a group of MSPP students created the MSPP Military Community. This group consists of family, friends and loved ones of military members, Veterans, active service members, students in the Military and Veterans Psychology Program, and those interested in joining the service post-graduation. The group provides mentorship and support for one another to cope with the deployment of a loved one, work through the demands of graduate level work, contemplate major career decisions, and deal with other life stressors. The MSPP Military Community also provides community service, advocacy and psycho-education to Veterans, service members, and military families throughout Massachusetts.