Mental Health Program for Veterans

If you need to talk with someone right now please call the National Veterans Hotline at:

  • Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1

Or if you want to:

To contact a trained veteran in or near your community:

Follow the Military Veteran Peer Network link.

Otherwise here is more information about the program:


The Mental Health Program for Veterans


To recruit and train veterans and family members so they can use their knowledge about military trauma to help their peers understand how to adapt to their injuries and how to access treatment.


Trust. Camaraderie. Hope.


The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) began developing mental health services for veterans and their families in 2009. In 2013, the 83rd Legislature appropriated funds to develop the program to include:

  • Peer-to-Peer Counseling
  • Access to Licensed Mental Health Professionals
  • Training for Peers
  • Veteran Jail Diversion Services

In 2015, the 84th Legislature added new initiatives for women and rural veterans.

Peer-to-Peer Counseling

Program funds are used for community mental health centers to hire full-time peer service coordinators. The coordinators recruit, train, and organize peers who provide services such as individual mentoring, peer-led discussions, and referrals to mental health professionals.

Women Veterans Initiative

DSHS partners with the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) to:

  • Train women veterans to facilitate women’s support groups
  • Train providers who specialize in treating women veterans
  • Help women veterans access their benefits and services
  • Increase awareness of women veterans in local communities
  • Educate women veterans about local resource providers

Rural Veterans Initiative

DSHS and 30 community mental health centers provide services to veterans in rural communities. The initiatives include promoting the use of video technology for remote therapy sessions, identifying community mental health resources, and operating peer networking centers where veterans can gather to meet with trained peers and service providers.

DSHS and TVC also have partnered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). A goal is to train at least one peer to provide basic mental health support at every VFW post in Texas.

Access to Licensed Mental Health Professionals

DSHS and TVC train and assist coordinators to:

  • Recruit, train, and guide peers
  • Train and support community partners
  • Coordinate justice-involved veteran initiatives
  • Work with Field Clinicians (veterans who also are mental health professionals) to provide limited-scope, short-term counseling services

DSHS and Texas A&M University Health Science Center maintain and publish a comprehensive veteran-specific online mental health resource directory (

Veteran Jail Diversion Services

DSHS and TVC partner with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to provide counseling and peer support to incarcerated veterans.

Trained peers and coordinators also provide services to participants in veteran treatment courts.

Grants Program

DSHS and TVC provide funds for community based mental health projects that provide direct services to veterans and family members.



Military Veteran Peer Network

Texas Veterans Portal

Texas Veterans Android App

Texas Veterans iTunes App

For More Information

Ted Hughes
Mental Health Program for Veterans
Texas Department of State Health Services

Last updated March 30, 2017