VA Help for Veterans affected by Wildfires
The New Mexico VA Medical Center has provided information on resources and assistance for veterans and their families affected by the wildfires in New Mexico.
Please share this with those who need assistance.
Las Vegas Veterans and families who need assistance can contact Sara Nolan, Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) at (505) 265-1711 X 3010.
Chaplain Services are also available at X 2735.
The NMVAHCS Call Center phone numbers are (505) 265-1711 or 1 (800) 465-8262 available Mon – Fri 8am-4pm
The After Hours VISN 22 Clinical Call Center can be reached at (877) 252-4866 and is available 24/7 including weekends. Both numbers can help transfer Veterans to a clinician or the pharmacy. The afterhours number can also help Veterans schedule appointments.
The links below may be beneficial to those affected by the wildfires:
- Resources & Support for New Mexicans Impacted by the Fires
- New Mexico Fire Information
- Hermit’s Peak Fire Info and Resources
- San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office
- Mora County Sheriff’s Office
Be safe and well. The NM VA is only a phone call away.
Helping our veterans and their Families
Beyond the Battlefield
We change the lives of Veterans and their families daily by providing:
- Multiple Housing Options– Emergency Housing, Transitional Housing, Rapid Re-housing and Homeless Prevention.
- Mental Health Counseling– Individual, group, and family member counseling. Services are always FREE.
- Clothing and Donations Program– Providing those household items and furniture to turn a “house” into a “home”.
- Food Pantry and Nutrition Education– Distribution location is 13032 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123. (505) 296-0800. Once a month per household.
- Community Support Shuttle– 10 pax vehicle makes shuttle stops in the ABQ area to certain locations. Check the shuttle timetable and destinations.
Learn more and contact them for assistance
or to make a donation – Click HERE.
Veterans Crisis Line
Are you a veteran in crisis or concerned about one?
Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are veterans themselves.
The DPNM Rural Caucus informs people about issues important to those of us who live in rural communities and provides forums where we can meet candidates running for office in NM.
Want to learn about what they do? Click HERE.
Serving She Who Served
Women Veterans of New Mexico was created to inform female veterans about their benefits but it is so much more than that now. Mainly a place of comradierie – as no one knows more about what serving meant than a sister in arms. WVNM is a non-partisan organization and membership is free.
To learn more about their mission and to join – Click HERE.
VA Releases Asset
and Infrastructure Review report
WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs released its Asset and Infrastructure Review report, March 14, that includes recommendations by the VA Secretary to cement the department as the primary, world-class provider and coordinator of Veterans health care for generations to come.
The VA MISSION Act requires Secretary McDonough to publish the AIR report in the Federal Register and submit it to Congress and a presidentially appointed AIR Commission.
The AIR Commission will conduct public hearings as part of its review of VA’s recommendations before submitting its own recommendations to the president for further review in 2023.
The report’s release marks the beginning of an in-depth deliberative process. The AIR report is the result of years of research and analysis intended to help VA build a health care network with the right facilities, in the right places, to provide the right care for all Veterans, including underserved and at-risk Veteran populations in every part of the country — making sure our facilities and services are accessible to Veterans in their communities.
The recommendations center around improving access to and quality of care for Veterans by ensuring the department’s infrastructure in the decades ahead reflects Veterans’ needs and 21st century design standards. VA is investing heavily in its number one asset — its employees, strengthening its public/private strategic partnerships and elevating its role as the leading health care research entity and the leading health care workforce training institution in the country.
“VA came to these recommendations by asking ourselves one question above all else: what’s best for the Veterans we serve? Because that is our number one goal, today and every day. That’s what our Asset and Infrastructure Review recommendations are all about,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “We’ve spent the last several weeks and months communicating about this with VA employees, union partners, state partners, Veteran service organizations, Congress, and more. I’m continuing to consult with our unions, and will do so moving forward, because I so appreciate the strong partnership we have with them.”
Read the VA Recommendations to the AIR Commission – Click HERE
VA Recommendations to the
Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission
Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 22 Albuquerque Market
serves veterans across most of the state of NM, part of southern Colorado. The recommendation includes justification for the proposed action, the results of the cost benefit analysis, and an overview of how the market recommendation is consistent with the MISSION Act Section 203 selection criteria.
The 81-page Market Recommendations (Volume II) can be read HERE.
The VISN 22 Market Recommendations can be read HERE
and the ABQ Market Recommendations start on page 38
Many recommendations include needed expansion, modernization, and consolidation of facilities. Our single medical center, Raymond G. Murphy VAMC in Albuquerque, was established in 1932, the main patient care facility was built in 1986, and there is no room left on the 93-acre campus to expand. There are 13 VA clinics throughout our large, rural state to provide access to medical care for the 69,090 enrollees (FY 2019) who live here. In fact, 51% of veterans in NM live in rural communities, while the national average is 32.5%.
Clinic closures will hit northern NM veterans the hardest, including our Native American veterans. This is the AIR commission report recommendation:
- Close the Gallup clinic
- Close the Las Vegas clinic
- Close the Raton clinic
- Close the Española clinic
The VMF Caucus is concerned, focused, and taking a stand to avoid these closures and we will keep you posted on developments as they unfold.
Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events in Afghanistan, such as the U.S withdrawal and the takeover by the Taliban.
You are not alone.
Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network, or sign Up for mental health services. Scroll down for a list common reactions and coping advice.
Resources available right now
- Veterans Crisis Line — If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then
PRESS 1 or visit https://www. veteranscrisislinenet/
- For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA
medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA
- For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA
- Vet Centers — Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based
counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
- VA Mental Health Services Guide — This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.
- MakeTheConnection.net — Information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.
- Rallypoint – Talk to other Veterans online. Discuss: What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement?
- Download VA’s self-help apps — Tools to help deal with common reactions like stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) — Request a Peer Mentor
- VA Women Veterans Call Center — Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 6:30PM ET)
- Together We Served — Find your battle buddies through unit pages.
- George W. Bush Institute — Need help or want to talk? Check In or call:1-630-522-4904 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes — Join the Community
- American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network — Peer Support and Mentoring
- Team Red, White & Blue — Hundreds of events weekly. Find a chapter in your area.
- Student Veterans of America — Find a campus chapter to connect with.
- Team Rubicon — Find a local support squad.
In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:
- Feel frustrated, sad, helpless, grief or distressed
- Feel angry or betrayed
- Experience an increase in mental health symptoms like symptoms of PTSD or depression
- Sleep poorly, drink more or use more drugs
- Try to avoid all reminders or media or shy away from social situations
- Have more military and homecoming memories
Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service.
Veterans may feel like they need to expect and/or prepare for the worst. For example, they may:
- Become overly protective, vigilant, and guarded
- Become preoccupied by danger
- Feel a need to avoid being shocked by, or unprepared for, what may happen in the future
Feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal. It can be helpful to let yourself feel those feelings rather than try to avoid them. Often, these feelings will naturally run their course. If they continue without easing up or if you feel overwhelmed by them, the suggestions below can be helpful.
Strategies for Managing Ongoing Distress
At this moment, it may seem like all is lost, like your service or your sacrifices were for nothing. Consider the ways that your service made a difference, the impact it had on others’ lives or on your own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change.
It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you. Is there something you can do today that is important to you? This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member. Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality? Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.
It can also help to consider your thinking. Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now. Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing? For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good? If so, try and think in less extreme terms. For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”
Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:
- Engage in Positive Activities. Try to engage in positive, healthy, or meaningful activities, even if they are small, simple actions. Doing things that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, can make you feel better.
- Stay Connected. Spend time with people who give you a sense of security, calm, or happiness, or those who best understand what you are going through.
- Practice Good Self Care. Look for positive coping strategies that help you manage your emotions. Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational text are some simple ways to help manage overwhelming or distressing emotions.
- Stick to Your Routines. It can be helpful to stick to a schedule for when you sleep, eat, work, and do other day-to-day activities.
- Limit Media Exposure. Limit how much news you take in if media coverage is increasing your distress.
- Use a mobile app. Consider one of VA’s self-help apps (see https://www.ptsd.va.gov/appvid/mobile/) such as PTSD Coach which has tools that can help you deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
- PTSD Coach Online. A series of online video coaches will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach Online is used on a computer, rather than a mobile device, and therefore can offer tools that involve writing.
If you develop your own ways of adapting to ongoing events and situations, you may gain a stronger sense of being able to deal with challenges, a greater sense of meaning or purpose, and an ability to mentor and support others in similar situations.