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Mental Health

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Depression Treatments & Therapies for Veterans

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Evidence-Based Treatment

No matter what you are experiencing, treatments and resources are available. VA offers treatment options that are proven to be very effective for most people, and many types of professionals at VA can treat depression.


Evidence-based therapies are among the most effective treatments for depression. They can include the following — which are in many cases available at a local VA medical center.

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Depression (ACT-D) can help Veterans overcome their emotional pain by promoting positive actions and choices that align with their values. Through this therapy, you may increase your ability to recognize and achieve what truly matters most to you in life.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression (CBT-D) is a structured, time-limited therapy that can help Veterans with depression develop balanced and helpful thoughts about themselves, others and the future. CBT-D can help you modify your thought patterns to change negative moods and behaviors. It can also help you achieve personal goals by developing new skills.
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression (IPT-D) is focused on identifying and evaluating relationship issues that may be the cause or result of depression. IPT-D can also help you build social skills to deal with problems in your relationships and improve your overall quality of life.
  • Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) helps Veterans recover from difficult situations and learn skills to improve their daily life. This therapy can improve your ability to cope with major life circumstances and stressors and develop a response plan.
  • Behavioral Activation helps Veterans learn how their behaviors are connected to their moods, and how to develop responses to improve their daily satisfaction. This therapy will ask Veterans to identify their values and goals and engage in more meaningful activities to achieve them.

Explore more potential treatment options at VA by visiting the Learn About Treatment page.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

A noninvasive treatment, TMS is used to change activity in the brain. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate specific regions of the brain, which may improve the patient’s mood and ease symptoms of depression. During each half-hour treatment session, the patient rests in a chair while a magnetic coil stimulates the brain. As these half-hour sessions occur daily for four to six weeks, TMS requires a significant time commitment.

Traditional medications and therapies should be the first line of treatment. If other treatments have not been effective for you, talk with your mental health provider about the possibility of receiving TMS. Veterans who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder may find that TMS is the best treatment for them.

Find Help Today

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Each VA medical center has mental health specialists. Use the facility locator to find the medical center nearest you.

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From your home, the clinic or the hospital, VA telehealth technologies make it easier for you to connect with your VA care team.

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