The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed an aggressive national mental health hiring initiative to improve recruitment and hiring, marketing, education and training programs, and retention efforts for mental health professionals.
To speed the national hiring process, VA developed the Mental Health Hiring Initiative, a multi-faceted, sustained National marketing and outreach campaign that includes targeted recruitment of mental health providers willing to take positions throughout the country, including in rural and highly rural markets, to serve all VA medical Centers and community clinics.
VA has an existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.Â Currently, 150 mental health care clinicians and support staff work locally supporting the southern Arizona Veterans.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki noted that â€œas the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans.â€
The team at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) is already actively treating Veterans through individualized care, readjustment counseling, and immediate crisis services.
SAVAHCS staff has contributed to mental health excellence by their nationally recognized Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), University of Arizona Supportive Education for Returning Veterans (SERV), Homeless Program,Veterans Justice Outreach, HUD/VASH Housing, and Substance Abuse rehabilitation programs.Â SAVAHCS also maintains joint ventures with local Tucson homeless social programs in which Veterans are located and integrated into the VA health care system.
The initiative will help VA to meet existing and future demands of mental health care services in an integrated collaborative team environment and continue to position VA as an exemplary workplace for mental health care professionals.
â€œMental health services must be closely aligned with Veteransâ€™ needs and fully integrated with health care facility operations.â€ said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel.Â â€œImproving access to mental health services will help support the current and future Veterans who depend on VA for these vital services.â€