The New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC) today announced a partnership with the goal of serving the psychiatric and addiction treatment needs of Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharged veterans.
The partnership, which includes Hackensack Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center), the University of Pennsylvania Medicine at Princeton, and the Discovery Institute in Marlboro, will provide mental health, addiction treatment, and essential medical services for the more than 1,000 New Jersey veterans with an OTH discharge classification.
While an OTH classification is considered an administrative rather than a punitive discharge, having an OTH discharge means the service member is not entitled to veteran’s benefits and will not be eligible to reenlist.
“For persons serving our nation in uniform, there can be no greater responsibility upon the end of service than to ensure that our veterans receive those services, which are critical to successful reentry into civilian life,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “Over time, I have heard the stories of returning veterans who have received an OTH discharge and the impact of that discharge classification on the ability to secure medical, behavioral, mental health, psyche and addiction treatment benefits. It is fundamentally the duty of our nation to make sure that veterans return home in as healthy and sound a manner as possible.”
Hackensack Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center) will provide acute short-term psychiatric in-patient care, while the University of Pennsylvania Medicine at Princeton will provide a clinically determined 30-day stay for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Additionally, the Discovery Institute will also
Dr. Ramon Solhkhah, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, noted that one-third of veterans returning from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have mental health challenges, with veterans having the highest rates of suicide and homelessness compared to all other recognized statistical cohorts.
“This crisis is real and impacts veterans, families and communities,” Solhkhah continued. “The statistic of 22 veterans who lose their life to suicide each day would be equivalent to an airplane crash a week. Imagine the public outcry for support and services if that were happening? The partnership we launch [today] will provide essential psychiatric and addiction treatment services to veterans in crisis.”
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