Every year on November 11th, we come together as a nation to honor the brave men and women who have served in the military, protecting our freedom and ensuring our safety. Veterans Day is not just a day to recognize their sacrifices, but also an opportunity to acknowledge the organizations and individuals working tirelessly to support our veterans and their families. At Netsmart, we are fortunate to work alongside behavioral health organizations, state veterans homes and other community-based care providers who directly work with those who have served to help them achieve the best life possible. These partnerships are at the core of our mantra, being cause-connected to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
One Netsmart-partnered organization leading the way for the veteran community is the Ozark Center, a non-profit organization and entity of Freeman Health System, delivering comprehensive behavioral health services in 30 Missouri locations across Jasper, Newton, McDonald and Barton counties. Ozark Center’s mission is to serve those in need of behavioral health services through contemporary, innovative, evidence-based, trauma-informed and quality behavioral health care.
Vicky Mieseler, Chief Administrative Officer at Ozark Center, shared how they created a proactive program, by pairing veterans with veterans at every level of care. They created a dedicated veteran liaison position, staffed by individuals who are veterans themselves. These military liaisons, through the Veteran Integration Program (VIP), provide a single point of contact for individuals and their family, seamlessly connecting those in need with programs and providers – both within Ozark Center and in the community at large.
The VIP program creates the opportunity to engage with veterans at community events, social activities, and veteran-owned businesses, raising awareness about behavioral health services available to them. The Ozark Center VIP services include counseling, virtual reality exposure treatment, substance use treatment, peer support, case management, medication management, employment services, housing assistance and more.
This innovative approach, connecting veterans with fellow veterans, has not only increased the number of veterans seeking services but has also fostered a strong sense of community and understanding. By acknowledging the importance of peer support, Ozark Center has created a supportive network where veterans feel heard and understood, laying the foundation for their successful recovery.
Ozark Center's commitment to veterans extends beyond providing services. Their active involvement in community events, such as the Veterans Day parade in Joplin, demonstrates their dedication to being true advocates for veterans' overall wellbeing. By continuously finding new ways to support veterans and their families, Ozark Center continues to grow their involvement and support for the veteran community.
As we observe Veterans Day this year, let us not only express our gratitude to those who have served but also extend our appreciation to organizations, like Ozark Center, who continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of veterans and their families. Their unwavering commitment exemplifies the spirit of this special day – a day of honoring, thanking and giving back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country.