Friday, August 31, 2012

President to Sign Order Enhancing Mental Health Services for Vets

President Obama is expected to sign an executive order today directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand mental health services and suicide prevention efforts. According to a statement released today by the White House, the order will direct the VA to increase its veterans crisis line capacity by 50 percent by the end of the year and ensure that any veteran who says they are in crisis connects with a mental health professional or trained mental health worker within 24 hours. Under the order, the VA will work with the Department of Defense to develop and implement a national 12-month suicide prevention campaign focused on connecting veterans to mental health services. Among other things, the order also calls on the VA to enhance access to mental health care by building partnerships between VA and community providers.

In April the VA announced its intention to hire 1,600 new psychiatrists and mental health professionals. And in comments submitted to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs that month, APA urged the VA to bolster its efforts to recruit and retain psychiatrists. For more information on APA's comments, see Psychiatric News, here.

(Image: Straight 8 Photography/


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