Gov. Kemp signs Georgia Veterans Mental Health Grants Act into law

ATLANTA – Georgia is creating a $750,000 grant program to support mental health programs for military members, veterans and their families through legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Georgia’s Department of Veterans Service will provide grants to nonprofit groups to provide House Bill 414 mental health and addiction services to those groups.

Republican Kemp told a group of lawmakers and veterans at a ceremony at the Capitol in Atlanta that the effort was modeled after a clinic in Hinesville, near Fort Stewart, that opened last year. The Cohen Family Clinic provides free services to military members, veterans and their families and is operated by Aspire Health Partners. The Florida-based nonprofit operates a similar clinic in Tampa.

“For far too long, many of those who have sacrificed so much for freedoms have struggled in silence with mental health issues,” Kemp said Tuesday. “Whether due to the stigma, a lack of resources, or a number of other obstacles, these heroes have not been able to get the help they needed and deserved.”

To receive a grant, an applicant must demonstrate that they employ evidence-based practices, train staff to understand the military, and connect clients with other mental health services after they are discharged. Locations within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of a military base have priority.

Applications for grants should be available shortly.

Kemp also signed Tuesday Senate Bill 21, which will overhaul the board of directors of the Georgia Veterans Service Foundation, and House Bill 175, which introduces a retired military license plate and allows disabled veterans to exempt their vehicle from taxes, even if they are don’t use it Current disability veteran sign.

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