Strengthening Mental Health Support through Collaboration


Insights from The Bridge Forum

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I recently had the privilege of participating in The Bridge Forum on Mental Health, an initiative hosted by the HeroZona Foundation. This event brought together state leaders, including Governor Hobbs and Representative Greg Stanton, to discuss the importance of providing access to mental health services and support across Arizona.

Governor Hobbs spoke of the importance of improving access to ensure that we have a healthy and thriving Arizona and I could not agree more.

I was honored to join the panel of distinguished colleagues including:

  • Carmen Heredia, Executive Deputy Director, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System
  • Celia Nabor, Assistant Director, Prevention Services, Arizona Department of Health Services
  • Justin Chase, CEO, Solari Crisis and Human Services

Through this Forum, I was able to highlight the many ways that the Arizona Coalition for Military Families (ACMF) has partnered with each organization on stage and so many others represented in the audience.

The foundation of our efforts is the Be Connected Ecosystem of Support, a program designed to seamlessly connect individuals with the resources they need. Built through collaboration across public and private partners, the Be Connected Ecosystem has become a trusted and reliable platform from which innovative solutions have been built to enhance support for our community – including access to mental health services and support for service members, veterans, and their families.

A significant part of our success has been our collaboration with key state agencies and organizations like Solari, the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System or AHCCCS. These partnerships have been essential in broadening the reach of our services, particularly through the integration of Be Connected within the contract for Medicaid services in Arizona. This integration ensures that comprehensive support is accessible to a wider audience, including those on Medicaid who might otherwise face barriers to receiving adequate mental health care and those organizations who provide services to Arizonans through AHCCCS.

The Be Connected Support Line, available at 866-4AZ-VETS (866-429-8387), represents another innovative collaboration in our mission. We partner with Solari to ensure that this support line goes beyond traditional helplines by providing navigators who are trained to manage complex cases and coordinate with multiple organizations to deliver precise, situation-specific assistance. The support line is intended to provide upstream support so that services and support can be provided to help people avoid crises.

Another truly innovative solution is ACMF’s involvement in establishing the Arizona Veteran Suicide Mortality Review Team with the Arizona Department of Health Services – underscoring our commitment to addressing veteran suicide through detailed analysis and proactive prevention strategies. For those interested in the specifics of this initiative, further details are available on our website at

We’re also traveling around the state with the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Family to conduct Tribal Listening Sessions to understand the unique experiences and needs of our Tribal partners.

The Bridge Forum serves as an important opportunity to share these efforts and reinforce the importance of collaborative approaches in mental health services. The Arizona Coalition for Military Families is committed to continuing this work, ensuring that all Arizonans connected to our military have the support they need to thrive.

Warm regards,
Thomas Winkel
Director, Arizona Coalition for Military Families

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Special thanks to the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family for their partnership and support.

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