The HeroZona Foundation has announced a Bridge Forum on Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel (260 W. Dunlap Ave.) in Phoenix, which will discuss mental health and first responder veterans. A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration found that only 50% of returning vets who need veteran mental health treatment will receive these services, which is why the Bridge Forum will aim to start a discussion surrounding how to help and hire those with PTSD.
The Bridge Forum will take place on day one of the three-day HeroZona National Veteran Summit, a multi-day experience for America’s veterans including Arizona’s 640,000 veterans, 38,000 active duty service members and 1,000 veteran owned companies. The third annual summit will return to Phoenix Nov. 5 through 7.
The Bridge Forum theme will include mental health professionals, veterans, first responders and law enforcement discussing how to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. The forum will focus on current efforts within the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Arizona Coalition for Military Families, Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, Arizona Fire District Association, and community resources to ensure first responders who have served in the military have resources to mental healthcare throughout their career after military service.
“Bridge Forums are an essential tool in bridging the gap between veterans, mental health professionals, first responders and law enforcement,” said HeroZona Foundation Founder and U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran, Alan “AP” Powell. “Our goal is to empower veterans who have PTSD and let them know that there are resources available to help them succeed in life after service.”
Presenters from Veterans Affairs will highlight current clinical and research activities and demonstrate strategies first responders can utilize to enhance their work, gain support from family members and optimize their health. Community organizations will also provide resources available in Phoenix for first responders and their families. The final presentation will be from first responders and fire and police department clinicians who will discuss support and services within their departments.
Bridge Forum presenters and panelist will include Veterans Affairs, Be Connected, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Arizona Health Cost Containment System, Department of Economic Security, Veteran’s Court, AZ Coalition for Military Families, Mercy Care, Arizona Statewide Public Safety Peer Support Association, 100 Club, COPS, Emergency Responders Assistance Program and Institute of Healing Memories. Sponsors will include Arizona State University and the Department of Veterans’ Services.