Last spring, after a review determined different facilities had varying needs of mental health support, VA announced an ambitious goal to bring in 1,600 mental health professionals to cut down on wait times and get Veterans seen as soon as possible. As of May 31, VA surpassed that goal.

Additionally, more than 2,000 clinical provider vacancies were filled, and 318 new peer specialists were hired to provide counseling, nearly half of the 800 needed by the end of the year.

The news comes during PTSD Awareness Month and following the National Conference on Mental Health. It’s a good week to announce another program to augment the resources and best practices of VA medical centers around the country: mental health summits.

From Army Times:

The meetings will bring together mental health specialists, government officials and veterans service organizations to facilitate cooperation, with a goal to improve mental health outreach and treatment for veterans.

The summits will build on lessons learned from a VA pilot program available in nine states where veterans have access to community mental health providers.

With an important reminder on why action is crucial:

“We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide, and we have to do a better job than that of preventing these all-too-often silent tragedies,” Obama said during opening remarks at the National Conference on Mental Health at the White House.

The Veterans Crisis Line has also doubled its capacity, and Veterans can reach for the PTSD Coach smartphone app to help keep list and track symptoms along with contact information for immediate help.

Even with these resources, it’s important to remain vigilant around those you served with, along with loved ones who once wore the uniform. Learn the ways to get immediate help by heart, and you can do your part to help Veterans get the care they need.

If you’re a mental health provider and want to serve Veterans, we’d like to hear from you. Find out more information and apply online at VA Careers. Veterans interested in pursuing mental health care can go here for their closest facility or Vet Center. For immediate help, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, or text 838255.

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Published on Jun. 4, 2013

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7 Comments

  1. John Garland, Ed.S., LPC June 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I have been trying to get hired by the local CBOC. Still trying . . .

    John Garland
    USAF 1983-87

  2. Ni Tiskus June 6, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Are there any support groups or help available for the wives or husbands of those suffering from PTSD? This too is so important!

    • Alex Horton June 7, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Ni, is your spouse a combat Veteran? If so, you can get family counseling at a Vet Center.

  3. Geralyn Caldwell June 5, 2013 at 2:36 am

    You need to be starting care at the duty station level. Many of our posts, bases, etc… are still ignorant to this evil. Medications alone will not help these service members deal with what is going on in their heads. You can not take a pill and not have nightmares or flash backs. Medication after medication is not the answer. We need to re-educate our health care providers to recognize to signs of PTSD before its to late. Hiring more uneducated providers is not going to help this huge problem. How many of our young men & women have to die un-necessarily before you step up and provide the care they have earned. Is this what so many have died for???

  4. JR Romero June 5, 2013 at 1:13 am

    OUTSTANDING!

  5. Jeanette Jacobs June 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I hope that the VA will consider repealing their requirement that a psychologist must have completed an APA-accredited internship in order to be employed as a psychologist at a VAMC. There are hundreds of well-qualified and talented psychologists who would like to help Veterans but cannot work for the VA because their internships were not APA-accredited. Securing an accredited internship has become exceedingly difficult for students in recent years and is no longer an assurance of a higher-quality training experience.

  6. Thurman R. Gregg June 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I applied for hearing aids in 2012 and completed the application at the VA facility at Clarksville, Tn. I was notified a few weeks later my application was turned down because of being placed in the priority group of 8g! I was given the right of appeal, which I did but was again turned down from the Atlanta office. I have friends who got hearing aids and free batteries! I’m a Korean War vet (1952-1955). I’m still upset with the VA and since have purchased hearing aids ($5,000) on my own. Is the Va another IRS?

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