WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, announced on Feb. 11 that it has made significant progress in providing increased access to mental health care services for veterans by hiring new mental health professionals.
Last year, Secretary Eric Shinseki announced a goal to hire 1,600 new mental health clinical providers and 300 administrative support staff. The president’s Aug. 31, 2012, Executive Order requires the positions to be filled by June 30. As of Jan. 29, VA has hired 1,058 mental health clinical providers and 223 administrative support staff in support of this specific goal.
Overall, VA has set aggressive goals to fill these new positions as well as existing and projected mental health vacancies within the VA system. As of Jan. 29, VA has hired a total of 3,262 mental health professionals and administrative support staff to serve veterans since the goal was announced, which includes those already hired. The mental health professionals hired include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, licensed professional mental health counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists and addictions therapists.
VA provides a comprehensive system of high-quality mental health treatments and services to veterans. The department is using many tools to recruit and retain one of the largest mental health care workforces in the nation to serve veterans better by providing enhanced services, expanded access, longer clinic hours and increased telemental health capability to deliver services.
For the complete article and other VA news releases, go to http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/.