The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday the hiring of approximately 1,600 mental health clinicians – to include nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers – as well as nearly 300 support staff to supplement its existing 20,590 mental health staff.
Anticipating the needs of returning US Veterans, the VA says it is moving quickly to ensure that all Veterans have access to quality mental health care.
The VA will alert all 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks across the country this month to begin recruitment immediately. Under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Shinseki, more people, programs, and resources have been devoted toward mental health services to serve the growing number of veterans seeking mental health care from VA.
Since 2009, VA has increased the mental health care budget by 39 percent. Last year, VA provided specialty mental health services to 1.3 million Veterans.
The department says it has integrated mental health care into the primary care setting, developed an extensive suicide prevention program, and increased the number sof Vet Centers (Veterans Readjustment Counseling Centers) and staff for its crisis line.
The Veteran Crisis Line has received more than 600,000 calls resulting in over 21,000 rescues of Veterans in immediate crisis.
Immediate help is available at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.