August 2018 – October 2019
To address the unique needs of justice-involved veterans, Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) were developed as an alternative to incarceration for veterans who have committed low-level crimes and have mental health or substance use issues.
Modeled after drug and mental health courts, VTCs are an effective way to reduce recidivism and address the unique needs of justice-involved veterans. By providing an alternative to incarceration, VTCs offer justice-involved veterans a second chance by giving them the treatment they need while allowing them to stay in their own communities and out of prison. A critical component of VTCs are the peer mentors—volunteers who are veterans themselves—who provide around-the-clock support, advice, and camaraderie for veterans. Peer mentors have been found to produce positive clinical outcomes for VTC participants. With the growth of VTCs nationally, there is a pressing need to identify and train new peer mentors to meet the increasing demand.
In 2018, NYSHealth awarded a grant to PsychArmor Institute to develop an online version of an in-person VTC peer mentor training program to expand access for veterans in need.