Task Force on Behavioral Health Services for the Military and their Families

The Task Force on Behavioral Health Services for the Military and Their Families worked on developing recommendations to ensure that the mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services that are available to active, Reserve, and National Guard members of the military, veterans, and their families are adequate to meet the needs today and in the future. The Task Force focused on examining state services that can help address gaps in the availability of behavioral health services available through the military or Veterans Administration. Full Report | Executive Summary | Issue Brief | Chapters | NCMJ Behavioral Health Needs of Military Personnel and Their Families
Co-Chairs
Grier Martin, JD, LLM
Representative
North Carolina House of Representatives
William R. Purcell, MD
Senator
North Carolina Senate
Michael Watson
Deputy Secretary for Health Services
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Project Director  Kimberly Alexander-Bratcher
Project Director
North Carolina Institute of Medicine
Task Force on Behavioral Health Services for the Military and their Families

The North Carolina General Assembly directed the NCIOM to study the adequacy of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services funded with Medicaid and state funds available to active, reserve, and National Guard members of the military, veterans, and their families. The Institute was also asked to determine any gaps in services.(Section 10.78(ff) of Session Law 2009-451; Sections 16, 19 of Session Law 2009-574). The Task Force provided an interim report to the 2010 Session of the North Carolina General Assembly and a final report to the 2011 Session.

The United States Armed Forces include the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard. Each of these branches are represented in North Carolina. This task force focused on the needs of these servicemen and women, veterans and reservists, and their families.

North Carolina has the fourth largest number of military personnel in the country. There are currently 120,000 active duty personnel based at one of the seven military bases or deployed overseas. North Carolina is likely to receive 25,000 additional active duty members by 2011. Another 25,000 soldiers, marines and airmen live in all 100 counties of North Carolina and serve in the National Guard or Reserves. Military service also affects their families prior to, during, and post deployment. More than 100,000 children and adolescents of active members, National Guard and Reserves live in North Carolina. In addition, to the active military, there are 770,080 veterans who live in North Carolina.

Alcohol and drug use is a serious problem for many in the military. Almost one fourth of active duty military personnel and members of the National Guard reported alcohol abuse. Many of the returning veterans report post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and substance abuse disorders. Traumatic brain injury is another condition affecting a larger proportion of service members than the general population. TRICARE provides services to active duty service members and their families, and the Veterans Administration provides some services to certain veterans. However, the federally funded health services are not sufficient to meet all of the behavioral health needs of this population. State funded services can help fill in some of the gaps.