On Thursday August 9, 2012, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced that she was leading an initiative to provide veterans with at least one year of free therapy and mental health services, via press release and in prepared comments during her first visit to the New Mexico Veterans Memorial. “They have honorably served us, now it’s time to give back,” Martinez told the crowd of veterans and active servicemembers in attendance.
According to the press release, New Mexico recognizes the VA’s initiative to hire 1,900 mental health professionals in light of President Obama’s “responsible drawdown” from Afghanistan that will culminate in 2014. According to the press release, “this may be too little and could take a couple of years for the plan to take place.”
Gov. Martinez has named the Regulation and Licensing Department as the administrative overseeing body for this initiative. The board of psychologist examiners, the state’s counseling and therapy practice board, and the board of social work examiners are all involved in this effort as well.
Mental health professionals throughout New Mexico will receive a letter asking if their licenses are in good standing. If so, according to the press release, the letter asks that they provide “volunteer services for a minimum for one year to a returning veteran and his/her family.” Said Gov. Martinez, “[Veterans] need our help and the state will make every effort to ensure that mental health services are in place.” Since the Gulf War, 50,000 New Mexicans served in the Armed Forces.
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