Pennsylvania has nearly 800,000 veterans living within our communities; this is the fourth-largest veterans' population in the country.

Ultimately after a decade of war and an unprecedented number of combat deployments, our service members, veterans, and their families are facing the consequences of the invisible wounds of war. The Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is collaborating with other state and community partners and is committed to addressing the varied needs of our veteran population.

PA Veterans Population facts

  • The commonwealth has nearly 800,000 veterans.
  • The commonwealth is home to almost 300,000 wartime veterans
  • 76 percent of Pennsylvania's veterans are over the age of 55
  • Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veterans population in the country.
  • More than 19,000 PA men and women are serving in the National Guard.
  • The PA National Guard has deployed more than 38,000 individuals during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
  • Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans Services

Governor's Advisory Council

On Veterans Day 2013, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Services was established as Pennsylvania’s first interagency cooperative approach to Veterans services. The council evaluates state veterans' programs in collaboration with senior staff from state agencies and commissions. It increases information sharing, ensures program fidelity, coordinates complementary programs and facilitates meaningful enhancements in service accessibility to veterans' benefits and services within Pennsylvania.

PA CARES Taskforce

Pennsylvania Americans showing Compassion, Assistance, and Reaching out with Empathy for Service Members (PA CARES)

OMHSAS has joined with various state and local agencies to form a voluntary advisory and action task force to assist veterans and their families with a successful reintegration back to their families and communities.

This task force meets regularly to network and work collaboratively to develop initiatives to meet the needs of service members, veterans, and their families. They will conduct evaluations of its initiatives and use consumer feedback to improve them. The task force also will identify avenues to bring resources to service members, veterans, and their families as well as respond to requests for assistance. For more information contact OMHSAS at 717-346-0359.

Veterans Peer Support

Certified Peer Specialists fill a unique role among behavioral health and human services practitioners in providing quality supportive services to persons in recovery. Drexel University in conjunction with OMHSAS has developed a two-day 12-hour Veterans Certified Peer Support Enhancement curriculum training.

This training opportunity is intended for Certified Peer Specialists who are veterans and/or who are interested in supporting Veterans, family members and people in the military. It will provide a selection of information, tools, and resources necessary to meet the needs of veterans and military service members.


Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP)

The Center for Deployment Psychology offers a series of workshops for learning to work with military-connected clients through the Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) Program. This unique program is designed to create a provider registry of civilian behavioral health professionals who are trained in military culture and evidenced-based treatments to increase confidence in assisting individuals with behavioral health concerns, particularly those serving in the Army and Air National Guard as well as Veterans.