VA ensures Veterans have same-day access to emergency mental health care


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As part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to provide the best mental health care access possible, VA is reminding Veterans that it offers all Veterans same-day access to emergency mental health care at any VA health care facility across the country.

“Providing same-day 24/7 access to mental health crisis intervention and support for Veterans, service members and their families is our top clinical priority,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It’s important that all Veterans, their family and friends know that help is easily available.”

VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention is the national leader in making high-quality mental health care and suicide prevention resources available to Veterans through a full spectrum of outpatient, inpatient and telemental health services.

Additionally, VA has developed the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide, which reflects the department’s vision for a coordinated effort to prevent suicide among all service members and Veterans. This strategy maintains VA’s focus on high-risk individuals in health care settings, while also adopting a broad public health approach to suicide prevention.

VA has supported numerous Veterans and has the capacity to assist more. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, 1.7 million Veterans received Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mental health services. These patients received more than 84,000 psychiatric hospital stays, about 41,700 residential stays and more than 21 million outpatient encounters.

Nationally, in the first quarter of FY 2019, 90% of new patients completed an appointment in a mental health clinic within 30 days of scheduling an appointment, and 96.8% of established patients completed a mental health appointment within 30 days of the day they requested. For FY 2018, 48% of initial, in-person Primary Care — Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) encounters were on the same day as the patient’s PC encounter. During the first quarter of FY 2019, 51% of initial, in-person PC-MHI encounters were on the same day as the patient’s PC encounter.

Veterans in crisis – or those concerned about one – should call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.

 

 

Author

Media Relations

The Office of Media Relations serves as the interface with news media representatives from newspapers and electronic media for the Department. OMR arranges interviews, provides press releases and answers media queries.

Comments

  1. joe lamay    

    Ive been begging for help for years from reps /comp drs, been ignored every time they have a excuse list to cover their incompetence ,errors laziness out right incompetence thats miles long!!!!!!!!! their Motto is DELAY THEM TILL THEY DIE

  2. Qiana Hayden    

    Timely healthcare access continues to be a barrier for Veteran’s health, especially mental health matters. In the near 10-year span between 2005 and 2014, Vets who received VA provided mental healthcare services increased by 71%, almost doubling the number of mental health visits from 2005 (Senate veterans’ affairs committee hearing, 2015). In October 2015, there were new guidelines released regarding service access and relative wait times; since then, the wait time for full evaluation has averaged about 26 days, with acute care provision provided within 24 hours of their initial request for a visit (Senate veterans’ affairs committee hearing, 2015). Vets in need may be seen through ER or by their health care provider for immediate needs, and then they return for a full intake visit with a mental health provider within the month.
    These guidelines continue to be modified, in an attempt to increase access and communication. There are now same day services when medically necessary, and an app called My VA Access to assist in appointment making (VA plan calls for same-day access to health care services, 2016). Same day appointments reduce ER visits and often bode well as far as continuity of care with the PCP. Collaborative care between the PCP and mental health providers would reduce ER visits for mental health concerns (Yoon, Cordasco, Chow, & Rubenstein, 2015). This requires an improved referral system and improved coordination of care between the providers. The mental health of our veterans is spoken of frequently and seriously. Government incentives should be in place to help recruit providers to address the growing need in mental health and suicide prevention. Patients and their loved ones must stay hopeful and continue to seek care so that our Vets are not lost or left behind.

  3. Darrell L Kelly    

    Bull C***. In Austin Texas the wait to get help is six to eight weeks for a teleconference. We recently had a veteran shoot himself in the restroom of our VA facility out of frustration. Nothing is even being said or done. How many more veterans will have to kill themselves in frustration before they decide to take this seriously? With VA it’s not lack of funding, it’s lack of will.

  4. Darrell L Kelly    

    Bull C***. In Austin Texas the wait to get help is six to eight weeks for a teleconference. We recently had a veteran shoot himself in the restroom of our VA facility out of frustration. Nothing is even being said or done. How many more veterans will have to kill themselves in frustration before they decide to take this seriously? With VA it’s not lack of funding, it’s lack of will.

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