VA Recovery Services in Mental Health
In addition to providing comprehensive, evidence based psychiatric care, there are a number of unique psychosocial services and resources available to eligible Veterans who have schizophrenia or another serious mental illness (SMI) through the mental health programs at VA Medical Centers (VAMC). A list of VAMCs can be found at http://www.va.gov. When calling for more information, please ask to be connected to the chief of the mental health service, the local mental health recovery coordinator, or the Patient Advocate.
Family Involvement. The VA is committed to provide appropriate services to family members of Veterans with SMI. This may include a variety of options such as family consultation, family education, and family psycho-education. Some services involve Veterans and family members together, and others can involve family members without requiring the direct participation of the Veteran.
Local Mental Health Recovery Coordinator (LRC). There is a mental health provider at each VAMC to help Veterans with serious mental illness (SMI) access recovery oriented services. The LRC provides education and support to Veterans, family members, and VA staff members about mental illness and recovery. The LRC promotes activities that remove barriers and stigma that may be associated with mental illness and ensures that veterans with SMI have access to the rehabilitation and recovery services needed to attain their goals.
Mental Health Intensive Case Management (MHICM). This is an intensive interdisciplinary team approach to the management and treatment of Veterans with SMI in the community and coordinated with a range of VA and community services. The hallmarks of the program include very frequent contacts between the staff and Veteran, a flexible approach with most contacts occurring in the community, a focus on rehabilitation, and a clear pathway of responsibility with a minimum of one year of continuous involvement.
Peer Counseling. All VAMCs and very large VA clinics must provide counseling from peer support technicians for veterans treated for SMI when this service is clinically indicated and included in the treatment plan.
Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC). A PRRC is a transitional educational center that inspires and assists Veterans to reclaim their lives by instilling hope, validating strengths, teaching skills, and facilitating community integration so Veterans can attain meaningful self-determined roles in the community. A PRRC offers an array of services five days a week for veterans with SMI.
Social Skills Training. This is an evidence based psychosocial intervention that must be available to all veterans who have a serious mental illness and who would benefit from it. It may be provided on site at a VAMC or VA clinic or by referral if necessary. Transitional Work Experience (TWE) and Supported Employment (SE. Each VAMC must offer TWE and SE services for veterans who have occupational dysfunction resulting from a mental health condition including SMI and who would benefit from this program.