The Guide to VA Mental Health Services for Veterans and Families (also available in Spanish : Guia de Servicios de Salud Mental que el Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos Ofrece a los Veteranos y sus Familias) is intended for Veterans, Veteran family members, members of Veterans Services Organizations, or members of other groups interested in VA mental health care. You can use this handbook to learn what mental health services your local or regional VA health care facility has pledged to provide to Veterans.
The following information has been pulled from the guide, and is intended to serve as a brief overview. Please see the Guide for more detailed information.
- Focus on Recovery - Recovery empowers the Veteran to take charge of his/her treatment and live a full and meaningful life. This approach focuses on the individual’s strengths and gives respect, honor, and hope to our nation’s heroes and their families.
- Coordinated Care for the Whole Person - VA health care providers coordinate with each other to provide safe and effective treatment for the whole person—head to toe. Having a healthy body, satisfying work, and supportive family and friends, along with getting appropriate nutrition and exercising regularly, are just as important to mental health as to physical health.
- Mental Health Treatment in Primary Care - Primary Care clinics use Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACTs) to provide the Veteran’s healthcare. A PACT is a medical team that includes mental health experts.
- Mental Health Treatment Coordinator - Veterans who receive specialty mental health care have a Mental Health Treatment Coordinator (MHTC). The MHTC’s job is to understand the overall mental health goals of the Veteran.
- Around-the-Clock Service - Emergency mental health care is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at VA medical centers. If your VA does not have a 24-hour emergency room, it must provide these services through a local, non-VA hospital. Telephone evaluations at VA medical centers and the national crisis hotline are also available 24/7.
- Care that is Sensitive to Gender & Cultural Issues - VA health care providers receive training about military culture, gender differences, and ethnic issues in order to better understand each Veteran.
- Care Close to Home - VA is moving closer to where Veterans live by adding more rural and mobile clinics and working with other health care providers in the community.
- Evidence-Based Treatment - Evidence-based treatments are treatments that research has proven are effective for particular problems. Mental health providers receive training on a wide variety of proven treatments. Mental health providers must offer evidence-based treatments to Veterans.
- Family & Couple Services - Sometimes, as part of a Veteran’s treatment, some members of the Veteran’s immediate family or the Veteran’s legal guardian may be included and receive services, such as family therapy, marriage counseling, grief counseling, etc.