Veterans’ Health

Grantee Name

Headstrong Project, Inc.

Funding Area

Veterans’ Health

Publication Date

July 2018

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

March 2017 – May 2018

More veterans are returning home with serious mental health issues, and suicide rates are increasing among these returning service members.

An ongoing shortage of VA mental health providers who are able to meet the increasing demand for behavioral health care has caused veterans to experience significant wait times for appointments. Additionally, a recent survey found that only 13% of civilian mental health providers meet the readiness criteria to provide culturally competent care to veterans. To meet these service gaps, the Headstrong Project (Headstrong) developed a fully integrated behavioral health care program for veterans in need of mental health treatment, which has been particularly successful in New York City. The program quickly connects veterans to culturally competent clinicians who then develop a treatment program specifically tailored to their needs and goals—at no cost to the veterans.

In 2017, NYHealth awarded Headstrong a grant to expand its program to other regions of New York State where veterans are concentrated and in need of mental health services.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Recruited 24 trauma-informed, best-in-class service providers in 5 strategically chosen locations (6 in Monroe County, 5 in Erie County, 4 in Onondaga, 4 in Tompkins County, and 5 in the Albany Capitol Region).
  • Treated 31 unique clients throughout the aforementioned regions.
  • Developed an ambassador program with more than a dozen collaborative partners that demonstrated strong ties to local veteran communities and organic abilities to develop a referral stream to Headstrong, including local Vet Centers, academic institutions, veterans service organizations, and government agencies.
  • Launched a statewide tele-psychology support group as an adjunct to ongoing individual therapy.

Headstrong originally set out to expand its services to four regions, but during the outreach and research phase of the expansion, an additional, high-need location was identified (Tompkins County), and Headstrong was able to recruit clinicians there at no additional cost.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged:

Headstrong has received nearly $90,000 to date to provide direct services and reimburse clinicians for their services in the new areas from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, BBMC Mortgage, Kayne Anderson, Carlisle Companies, and MB Real Estate.