VA Mental Health – Health Care Providers Treating Depression
Health Care Provider
A number of resources are available to health care providers who work with Veterans and may be concerned about a Veteran experiencing depression.
Resources To Share With Veterans
Effective treatments and resources are available to treat depression. Medication and psychological counseling (psychotherapy) have proven very effective for most people, and many types of professionals treat depression.
CBT-D is a structured, time-limited psychotherapy that helps people develop more balanced and helpful thoughts about themselves, others, and the future. This type of therapy modifies thought patterns to change moods and behaviors. CBT-D also helps people achieve personal goals and solve problems by learning and practicing new skills.
ACT-D is a psychotherapy that helps people overcome emotional pain and worry by encouraging them to take positive actions that align with their values. Based on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, ACT-D helps people recognize, commit to, and achieve what matters most to them in life.
IPT is a form of treatment that focuses on the relationships that may trigger or result from depression, helping people understand the connection between their depression and current relationship problems. IPT also builds social skills that help people to deal with their problems, helping improve how people feel as well as their quality of life.
In addition to medications, psychosocial treatments play a key role in the treatment of depression. These treatments help individuals develop skills and supports needed to be successful in their daily lives and help with symptoms that remain after treatment with medication. VA provides the following psychosocial treatments:
- Assertive Community Treatment: Assertive community treatment helps people with serious mental illnesses access regular treatment by clinicians who visit clients in the home or in their local community. This treatment has been shown to decrease the number of hospitalizations and help people live independently and remain employed. VA offers a version of assertive community treatment that has been modified for the VA health system known as Intensive Community Mental Health Recovery (ICMHR) Services.
- Supported Employment: Supported employment, specifically the individual placement and support model, helps individuals with serious mental illnesses find and keep jobs. Compared with other patients, those who have received these services more often found jobs, worked more hours, were employed longer, and earned more money.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps people understand relationships among their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and learn new patterns of thinking to support positive feelings.
- Illness Management and Recovery (IMR): IMR helps those with serious mental illnesses set meaningful goals and learn skills to support their mental health and recovery.
- Social Skills Testing (SST): SST was developed to help Veterans learn effective social skills that aid in their recovery. SST includes education, breaking skills down into simple steps, modeling, role-playing, and group support.
In Veterans' Own Words
Clinicians can use Make the Connection as a tool to engage with Veterans or their family members who may be reluctant to seek support.