The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a new online Community Provider Toolkit (www.mentalhealth.va.gov/communityproviders) aimed at delivering support, therapeutic tools, and resources to community providers treating Veterans for mental health concerns.
“Many Veterans seek mental health care at VA, yet many also choose to go to providers in their community,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA is committed to helping Veterans wherever they may seek care. This toolkit will enable those community providers who treat Veterans to better understand the specific issues Veterans face and help them access VA resources.”
The goal of the Community Provider Toolkit is to further enhance the delivery of mental health services to Veterans through increased communication and coordination of care between community providers and VA. It not only provides information about accessing, communicating with, and, if needed, making referrals to VA, but also provides effective tools to assist Veterans who are dealing with a variety of mental health challenges. The Community Provider Toolkit also includes sections intended to increase providers’ knowledge about military culture.
On Aug. 31, President Obama issued his historic Executive Order to improve mental health services for Veterans, Service members and military families. As directed in the Executive Order, VA is hiring 1,600 new mental health professionals and 300 support staff. The Executive Order also directed a 50 percent increase in the staff of the Veterans Crisis line.
Last year, VA provided quality, specialty mental health services to 1.3 million Veterans. Since 2009, VA has increased the mental health care budget by 39 percent. Since 2007, VA has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of Veterans receiving mental health services, and a 41 percent increase in mental health staff.
VA provides a comprehensive continuum of effective treatments and conducts extensive research on the assessment and treatment of PTSD and other mental health problems. Those interested in further information can go to www.mentalhealth.va.gov or www.ptsd.va.gov to find educational materials including courses for providers and best practices in mental health treatment. They can also learn more about the award-winning VA/DoD PTSD Coach Mobile App, which provides education, resources, and symptom monitoring and management strategies.