Earlier this year in April, VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and its Mental Health Services held its first National Women’s Mental Health Mini-Residency.  This innovative clinical training program is a key part of a VHA’s national effort to ensure that mental health providers have the knowledge and skills needed to provide the rapidly growing population of women Veterans with gender-tailored mental health care that addresses their unique treatment needs.

Approximately 200 participants, representing nearly every VA medical facility as well as Vet Centers attended this intensive three-day training event. Nationally and internationally recognized experts led training sessions on evidence-based psychotherapies and psychiatric medications.  The training sessions were designed to be highly interactive and incorporated small group workshops, discussion of case examples, live demonstrations and role playing.

“We set a very high bar for ourselves in developing this new training initiative and – with the help of a tremendously talented faculty and program development team – I think we created something that is truly innovative and unique” said Dr. Susan McCutcheon, VHA’s national mental health director for family services, women’s mental health and military sexual trauma.

The mini-residency covered a broad range of training topics, including treating women who have experienced gender-linked traumas, such as intimate partner violence and sexual abuse; addressing unhealthy eating patterns in women; working with women with mental health problems linked to hormonal changes and the reproductive cycle; special considerations when prescribing psychiatric medications to women; understanding suicide risks in women Veterans; and integrating peer counselors into women Veterans’ treatment and recovery.  At the beginning and end of the training, two female peer counselors shared powerful personal stories of their own experiences as women Veterans whose lives have been touched by VHA providers.

As part of the training, participants developed action plans for disseminating best practices for women Veterans’ mental health at their local VHA facilities.  Each now serves as a member of a national network of women’s mental health champions with a shared commitment to advancing gender-sensitive mental health services for women Veterans.


Image of Kayla WilliamsKayla Williams is the director of the Center for Women Veterans at VA Central Office, in Washington, D.C. The center monitors VA’s administration of benefits and services for women Veterans and promotes recognition of contributions made by women who served in the armed forces.

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Published on Jul. 15, 2016

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  1. Linda McDonald July 22, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Who can I contact at the VA Medical Center in Washington. DC for counseling for Intimate Partner Violence?

  2. travel potty chair July 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

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  3. Pat Jahnke July 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Why does VA hospital/doc refused to help veteran? Thier was vet seen his doc in Iowa city to get HELP!!!! The doc/hospital had no rm to help!!!! Next day he KILLED himself know it on news, Congress look into it, I had a doc appointment seen pain clinic, leg nerve burn damage, respark by meds va gave me 7 yrs ago!!! Pins and needles , I’ve try many thing va pt, many different thing did not help, seen a doctor, 3 visit told me I CAN’T SEE NO MORE I can not control burn nerve pain. My feeling been many time cut leg with a saw saw doc don’t care. I tell the va people my view point I was told some were scare of me. I ask the doc in that appointment, if seen or heard about that vet killed him self , reply back they didn’t, it was on new night before I bet it was news paper, on radio news, are these doctors don’t even care for veterans care??????? Va does new testing but it seems the doctors refused try new ways, they feel give meds get thier kick back from drug companies, it true va doctor do get kick back give out meds to vet it happens under the table. So ?????is are the va doctors are going to be trained new ways,? Are they going do it? Why does TBI clinic only for the war happened in 2012 until know, someone wrote a thing about it but I found out it not for vets before wars 2012 were no bodies that got head injuries wars and peace time! It not fair. Why do the VA tell new thing but u go to clinic, doctor, va hospital no one knows . Update things,. I read many 99% are false so who do uuu believe in.. my feeling if that doctor, nurse, spec clinic listen to the veteran, help him/her will help100%, but 90% I bet don’t get a answer they like to hear, we need more testing, send to wrong clinic it happens all the time , I seen a pt tech, leg burn nerve pain bring out flash cards did not look or touch it, show me how to control my pain i can’t it hit me it hit, narcotics drug only meds help, antidepressants give nasty side effects after my head injury.1977. so what the VA people type , newspapers, news on radio /TV can be a% of bs no back up.

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