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Veterans/Military Families

Pennsylvania has nearly 800,000 veterans living within our communities; this is the fourth-largest veterans' population in the country. Ultimately after a decade of war and an unprecedented number of combat deployments, our service members, veterans, and their families are facing the consequences of the invisible wounds of war. The Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is collaborating with other state and community partners and is committed to addressing the varied needs of our veteran population.

PA Veterans Population facts

    • The commonwealth has nearly 800,000 veterans.
    • The commonwealth is home to almost 300,000 wartime veterans
    • 76 percent of Pennsylvania's veterans are over the age of 55
    • Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veterans population in the country.
    • More than 19,000 PA men and women are serving in the National Guard.
    • The PA National Guard has deployed more than 38,000 individuals during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
    • Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans Services 

Governor's Advisory Council

On Veterans Day 2013, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Services was established as Pennsylvania’s first interagency cooperative approach to Veterans services. The council evaluates state veterans' programs in collaboration with senior staff from state agencies and commissions. It increases information sharing, ensures program fidelity, coordinates complementary programs and facilitates meaningful enhancements in service accessibility to veterans' benefits and services within Pennsylvania.

PA CARES Taskforce

Pennsylvania Americans showing Compassion, Assistance, and Reaching out with Empathy for Service Members (PA CARES)

OMHSAS has joined with various state and local agencies to form a voluntary advisory and action task force to assist veterans and their families with a successful reintegration back to their families and communities. 

This task force meets regularly to network and work collaboratively to develop initiatives to meet the needs of service members, veterans, and their families. They will conduct evaluations of its initiatives and use consumer feedback to improve them. The task force also will identify avenues to bring resources to service members, veterans, and their families as well as respond to requests for assistance. For more information contact OMHSAS at 717-346-0359. 

Veterans Peer Support

Certified Peer Specialists fill a unique role among behavioral health and human services practitioners in providing quality supportive services to persons in recovery. Drexel University in conjunction with OMHSAS has developed a two-day 12-hour Veterans Certified Peer Support Enhancement curriculum training.

This training opportunity is intended for Certified Peer Specialists who are veterans and/or who are interested in supporting Veterans, family members and people in the military. It will provide a selection of information, tools, and resources necessary to meet the needs of veterans and military service members.


Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP)

The Center for Deployment Psychology offers a series of workshops for learning to work with military-connected clients through the Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) Program. This unique program is designed to create a provider registry of civilian behavioral health professionals who are trained in military culture and evidenced-based treatments to increase confidence in assisting individuals with behavioral health concerns, particularly those serving in the Army and Air National Guard as well as Veterans.

While only licensed behavioral health providers can be on the registry and attend Tier Two and Three classes, we welcome other helping professionals to attend a Tier One training.

SBHP offers three tiers of sequential training. All trainings are free with continuing education (CE) credits. ALL TRAININGS ARE ONLINE VIA ZOOM.

SBHP training is comprised of three tiers that must be taken sequentially:

  • Tier One: Introduction to Military Culture and Deployment
    One day, covers military culture and the impact of deployments on families.
    • September 14, 2021, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm MT
    • October 29, 2021, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET
    • November 15, 2021 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET
  • Tier Two: Challenges and Difficulties Associated with Military Service
    Two days, covers issues associated with military service including military family resilience,traumatic brain injury, sleep disorders, suicide, PTSD, and three hours of ethics.
    • September 15-16, 2021, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm MT
    • October 19-20, 2021, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET
  • Tier Three: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain
    Two days, teaches evidenced-based psychotherapies for treating particular behavioralhealth conditions facing service members, veterans and families. There is a range of topics offeredthroughout the year.
    • November 8-9, 2021, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET

To register, visit:

  • Click on the tab to the right that says, “search for training events”. This will show you all the trainings that we have open for registration now. Open trainings may not begin on the first page of the list.
  • The trainings must be taken in consecutive order. You will not be able to register for a Tier Two or Three unless you first register for (or have completed) a Tier One.
  • October – November trainings are currently waitlisted, so add your name to the waitlist to request your spot in the training now before they officially open.