VA Is Nation's Largest Mental Health Provider

Discussion in 'Health Care Benefits' started by rainvet, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. rainvet

    rainvet New Member

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    0 -- VA Is Nation's Largest Provider of Mental Health Services; Department a World Leader in Outreach, Research.

    WASHINGTON (March 12, 2007) -- As more newly returned combat veterans
    turn to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care,
    Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson said the Department
    continues to enhance services that will provide them with world-class
    care, including mental health care.

    "Not all combat injuries are made by bullets and shrapnel," Nicholson
    said. "That's why we have taken -- and will continue to take -- steps to
    make certain our veterans receive comprehensive, accessible and
    compassionate care for their mental health concerns."

    With an annual budget of nearly $3 billion for mental health services,
    VA is the country's largest provider of mental health care. VA employs
    more than 9,000 front-line mental health professionals -- psychiatrists,
    psychologists and social workers -- up more than 15 percent from 2003.

    "VA's mental health programs are evidence-based and tailored to the
    needs of our patients," said Dr. Ira Katz, chief of VA's mental health
    program. "Maintaining mental health through the challenges of
    deployment, combat and reentry is a challenge facing many veterans -- a
    challenge that with persistence and VA's skillful professional
    assistance can be overcome."

    Mental health services are provided at each of VA's 155 medical centers
    and nearly 900 community-based outpatient clinics. Each medical center
    has a PTSD Clinical Team or a specialist that that focuses on treatment
    of PTSD.

    VA is a world leader in treatment and research concerning PTSD. The
    Department's National Center for PTSD is internationally recognized for
    its research into PTSD, other combat-related mental health issues and
    non-combat mental health trauma.

    A key component of VA's mental health program are the 209
    community-based Vet Centers that provide veterans with PTSD counseling
    and mental health screening, along with help for family members dealing
    with bereavement and loved ones with PTSD.

    At the Vet Centers, VA has hired 100 veterans of the Global War on
    Terror to provide outreach to other newly returned veterans. An
    important mission of the outreach effort is maintaining contact with
    local National Guard and reserve units.

    Nicholson also recently announced that VA will open 23 more Vet Centers
    within the next two years.

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