U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON, April 20, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will add approximately 1,600 clinicians -- to include nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers -- as well as nearly 300 support staff, to its existing mental health workforce of 20,590, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced yesterday.
"As the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning veterans," he said. "History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. As more veterans return home, we must ensure that all veterans have access to quality mental health care."
"Mental health services must be closely aligned with veterans' needs and fully integrated with health care facility operations," VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel said. "Improving access to mental health services will help support the current and future veterans who depend on VA for these vital services."
Last year, VA provided specialty mental health services to 1.3 million veterans, officials said. Since 2009, VA has increased its mental health care budget by 39 percent and has seen a similar increase in the number of veterans receiving mental health services, as well as a 41-percent increase in mental health staff.
Veterans in need of immediate help can receive assistance by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
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Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans