Thursday, May 23, 2013

Partnership to Expand Mental Health Services Makes Progress

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2013 - The Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services departments yesterday reported on the progress they've made on initiatives to improve access to mental health services for veterans, service members and their families.

The initiatives are the result of an executive order President Barack Obama issued in August.

"One of the great challenges we face as a nation is how to provide quality, accessible, long-term mental health care for service members, veterans and their families," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. "Using the combined resources and expertise from across the government, we are advancing services for those who have sacrificed so much for our nation."

The departments have released an interim report outlining their progress, including:

-- Increasing the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line by 50 percent to help ensure that veterans in crisis can readily reach help;

-- Establishing 15 pilot projects in seven states in which VA works with community-based mental health providers to help veterans have timely access to mental health services;

-- VA hiring nearly 1,400 mental health providers and about 250 new peer specialists; and

-- Implementing a national suicide prevention campaign to connect veterans and service members to mental health services.

The departments also are working on additional initiatives called for in the executive order, including development of a national research action plan, officials said.

Chuck Hagel

Related Sites:
Interagency Task Force's Interim Report
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Health and Human Services



 Sean Eagan

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