VA uses whole health to prevent Veteran suicide

The many ways VA is working to prevent suicides


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Suicide prevention is VA’s top clinical priority. Every suicide is a tragedy, and we will not relent in our efforts to connect Veterans who are experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis with lifesaving support.

VA is doing many things to prevent Veteran suicide, such as working with partners and communities, improving access to mental health care and educating the public about interventions. Every day, when Veterans are in crisis, VA’s Veterans Crisis Line responders and suicide prevention coordinators help see Veterans through those crises.

“No matter what a Veteran is dealing with, there are resources to help.”

But we all can help prevent those crises and save lives by taking care of each Veteran’s whole health. By using VA’s innovative Whole Health System, focusing on patient-centered care and thinking outside the box when it comes to serving Veterans, we can provide the best care to Veterans.

Whole health?

Whole health is an approach to health care that empowers, equips and treats Veterans so that they can take charge of their health and well-being and live their lives to the fullest. This approach supports key VA priorities, including suicide prevention, reducing homelessness and addressing addiction.

“VA offers a comprehensive network of support for all our nation’s Veterans and their families and friends,” said Dr. Teresa D. Boyd, acting assistant deputy under secretary for health for clinical operations. “No matter what a Veteran is dealing with, there are resources to help, including the Veterans Crisis Line, same day access to mental health providers and Vet Centers.”

VA has several new, creative programs and resources designed to connect Veterans to their health care teams and other services:

  • Whole health for life website: Visit this site to use online resources, tools and other information to support whole health.
  • Whole health system video series: Watch these brief videos and podcasts to learn more about whole health from other Veterans, VA leaders and clinicians across VA.
  • Personal health inventory: Think about your health in a new way, focusing on what matters most in life and what brings you joy and happiness. Listen to a podcast about this approach and complete a personal health inventory to identify areas of focus to help you achieve your goals.
  • Home-based primary care: Home-based health care services are for Veterans who have complex health care needs and for whom routine clinic-based care is not effective.
  • Telehealth and telemental services: These services create virtual linkages between VHA patients and mental health providers separated by distance or time, including a pilot telehealth program that will give rural Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remote access to psychotherapy and related services.
  • Home-based mental health evaluation (HOME) program: The HOME program bridges the gap between inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and outpatient care by providing weekly suicide risk assessment, safety planning and trouble-shooting around barriers to treatment engagement.

These cutting-edge approaches serve Veterans as a whole person, rather than just focusing on a specific problem that needs fixing. They allow for greater choice in care ­and equip teams with new tools to help Veterans better self-manage chronic issues such as PTSD, pain and depression.

There is no wrong door to treatment. By focusing on Veteran-centered care instead of disease-centered care we help save lives every day.


This article was submitted to VAntage Point by the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Joseph Kosinsky, USN (Retired)    

    I am having a problem with Legal Health. My issues with Article 78 are not being addressed and cause me severe stress and depression. I am a 100% service-connected Vietnam veteran and USN (Retired) and would like the help of an attorney.

  2. Kenneth Rodriquez    

    Hello am a Veteran I work at the VA I been sick with rumatory arithice PMR diabetes high blood pressure high cholesterol and I have PTSD also it’s hard a lot of the time working beacuse of the pain swelling am tired of being treated like am faking it am trying to get VA disability I need help I been there for 15 years

    1. Tawnya Scott    

      Mr. Rodriquez what State do you live in? What VA do you Currently work at? Could you please reach out to me @
      togetherforthegood@yahoo.com or at http://www.togetherforthegood.com I am a Mental Health advocate, suicide prevention as well as disability advocate for Veterans and I can try and assist you with leading you in the direction you need to go.

  3. Jeri Gravel    

    Such crap !!! The VA doesn”t give a crap ! I was suicidal and had an appointment tos see doctor at VA it was the day before a holiday and the doctor cancelled at the last minute. The person that had to call me to tell me appointment was cancelled was also upset about my appointment being cancelled and said the doctors do it all the time on holidays, they dont care ! So all of your stupid adds about how wonderful the VA is, BULLCRAP, COMPLETE BULLCRAP. I have stayed in a VA hospital, in ICU, VA should be ashamed not proud.

    1. Robert    

      So true trying to get into their pct program didn’t meet their criteria so what the point I’m very disappointed with the process so everything I tried to deal with ptsd I don’t meet the criteria fuck it

    2. Tawnya Scott    

      Mr. Jeri Gravel I am so truly sorry that you have to go through this. I just wanted to reach out to you to see how you where doing, and if I can be of any assistance to you. I don’t believe in any person should ever have to suffer alone. I am a mental health, suicide prevention advocate, as well as a Disability advocate for Veterans. I was seeing if you where getting help of any kind, and if not if their was anything I could do to help? You can reach out to me at
      togetherforthgood@yahoo.com
      Or http://www.togetherforthegood.com
      Please don’t hesitate. I will try to help the best I can. God. Less and Thank you for your service

  4. Don Lynch    

    If you were in combat and saw your friends blown up with their guts hanging in trees from artillery be rages, You would have PTSD also!! We should have Veterans come under Medicare so they could at least get doctors that were other than off shore minimally educated doctors to attend them. I have seen medics in the military that were better than some VA doctors!

  5. gary e mcevilla    

    disability claims severely exacerbates those waiting . Then finding out VA failed to fulfill their end in retrieving records of in service connection resulting in their denial at C&P and at the board. I fail to see an open door there. What re apply

  6. Bob Bembenek, Sr    

    Do your best. Then ask if that would be good enough for you or one of your own family. Just sasyin . . .

  7. Christopher L Cook    

    In 1988 I enlisted for two years active and 6 years IRR. I got my associates degree while I was in service and then accepted into a four year college I requested and received an early out to attend college. Now since I did not do 24 months active duty I do not get health benefits. I need and would like to get counseling for depression and anxiety.

  8. Judy Miller    

    I have symptoms of depression and tons of anxiety. I understand that the alpha stim device would help greatly. My therapist that I have through the VA is recommending this device for me. Our VA system in Central Texas does not have them. They do have them in San Antonio and other Texas places but not my area. Is there any way I can obtain this device? i have the “prescription” from a Doctor.

  9. John Williams    

    I am a 100% disabled VETERAN,that was stationed in ft McClellan and can’t get any HELP from the va or the government,Monsanto,lutia,bayer what ever name that you would like to use is responsible for my disability, how many people have to DIE before something is done.

  10. Brian Beck    

    The VA cares? Laughing My Ass Off. Decided to try going through the VA as my insurance would not pay for PT(upper back, hands and feet mostly but everything else too). My PC doc and nurse did get me PT but for my lower back only. Yes, it hurts too but not like the rest of my back. This is just one example of the VA docs listing to me.

  11. walter pelton    

    va is largely a bad joke.replace it w/medicare for all vets.problem solved…money/lives saved. case closed.

  12. Richard Zakosky    

    It’s been a rough road for me, since October of 2013 I’ve been disabled. Left work at the San Diego California Veterans affairs and it took 4years before my story can be told.

  13. george hart    

    where can one begin, about the so-called Veterans Administration, so many are not helped! How long did the VA drag its heels on the issues concerning health issues like PTSD, and AGent Orange, Blue, and White. Its a crime, thinking back when there was draft, and how soldiers, sailor, marines, and airmen where treated, Has our Veterans Administration changed, well, from some of above comments, its not changing, the VA just seems to be adapting to the current issues. and It seems as though, they talk the talk, but as always, sorry, your claim has been denied…Please you can resubmit your claim, again, and again…ad nauseum!

  14. Jesus Perez    

    I have advocated for my treatment and have advocated for all Veterans to be given the quality care and treatment that every Veteran Deservs and has Earned. We will get our VA’s to hear our cries for help. Through our Patient Advocate Offices, Veteran Services Offices, Local Government, Federal Government all the way to Congress. Respectfully, Spc. Perez, Jesus U.S. Army Veteran.

  15. Kathleen McGreal    

    I have to agree with much of this. After being DISCHARGED by my 1SG and XO 33 years ago, the VA DISREGARDING my PTSD claim for 12 years now, the last thing I should have to deal with are VA providers that DISREGARD treating me. Am I wrong to feel this way? I’m not the addicted or over-medicated idiot I used to be years ago …

  16. Florence C Henry    

    I am glad that the VA is now taking steps to help the total aspect of the veteran. It was to late for my son who went to VA for help in 2003. He never got the help because he failed the policy for income allowances. Turned away he suffered for another year without treatment and took his life in 2004. It took me (also a veteran) about 8-10 years to recover from the loss. His brother (also a veteran) suffers from depression and alcohol addiction because of this. They waves of lives devastated affects many from this loss. A little too late for all of us who suffer from PTSD, major depression, addictions, Bi-polar disease and more. I am not saying that the VA has not helped me, they have but for others there is a gap. I implore you VA to step up and fill that gap so we do not loose any more sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts. The list goes on and on.

  17. Linda N    

    The Manchester va personnel (atleast a good amount ) don’t care about vets . they do care about getting a paycheck and benefits. That’s all folks.

  18. Linda N    

    On the outside it looks like Manchester is reaching out to help. Reality where the rubber hits the road they really don’t crea or want to bother. Just get pair.

  19. Don Lynch    

    The Bureaucrats in DC keep the veterans from being treated. The Congress keeps military personnel who served in the non war years from joining the American Legion! Every military person who wants to join the American Legion should be able to join!! This rule was mad by some who didn’t serve!!

Comments are closed.