7 stress resources Veterans can use right now

VA offers a variety of mental health resources for Veterans, family members, and friends


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As a Veteran, you might experience difficult life events or challenges after leaving the military. We’re here to help no matter how big or small the problem may be. VA’s resources address the unique stressors and experiences that Veterans face — and we’re just a click, call, text, or chat away.

Seven mental health resources Veterans can use right now

  1. Just show up to any VA Medical Center. Did you know that VA offers same day services in Primary Care and Mental Health at 172 VA Medical Centers across the country? VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has made Same-Day 24/7 access to emergency mental health care the top clinical priority for VA staff. “It’s important that all Veterans, their family and friends know that help is easily available.” Now, all 172 VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) provide Same-Day Mental Health Care services. If a Veteran is in crisis or has need for immediate mental health care, he or she will receive immediate attention from a health care professional. To find VA locations near you, explore the facility locator tool.
  2. Make the Connection is an online resource designed to connect Veterans, their family members, friends and other supporters with information and solutions to issues affecting their lives. On the website, visitors can watch hundreds of Veterans share their stories of strength and recovery, read about a variety of life events and mental health topics, and locate nearby resources.
  3. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and text messaging service. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. Vet Centers provide community-based counseling for a wide range of social and psychological services, including confidential readjustment counseling, outreach and referral to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components and their families. It offers individual, group, marriage and family counseling. And you can get a referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services at no cost. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.
  5. Coaching Into Care provides guidance to Veterans’ family members and friends on encouraging a Veteran they care about to reach out for mental health support. Free, confidential assistance is available by calling 1-888-823-7458, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or by emailing CoachingIntoCare@va.gov.
  6. The Veteran Training online self-help portal provides tools for overcoming everyday challenges. The portal has tools to help Veterans work on problem-solving skills, manage anger, develop parenting skills, and more. All tools are free. Its use is entirely anonymous, and they are based on mental health practices that have proven successful with Veterans and their families.
  7. AboutFace features stories of Veterans who have experienced PTSD, their family members, and VA clinicians. There, you can learn about PTSD, explore treatment options, and get advice from others who have been there.

Learn more

For more information about VA’s mental health resources and behavioral health services, please visit VA’s Mental Health Services website at MentalHealth.va.gov, or the Vet Center website (for combat Veterans) at www.vetcenter.va.gov. For a more detailed view of VA mental health service offerings, explore the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Guidebook.

To find VA locations near you, explore the facility locator tool.

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. David W Terbeek    

    I’ve had spinal issues since 1976, and finally in the last couple years the VAMC here got me going to a Chiropractor outside the hospital. This was helping my almost constant Migraines, and some with back & legs. Now, when Tri-West took over everything went downhill. At first the authorized 6 visits over a period of time, then 12 over a year, then 12 more over less than 6 months. This was rushing the adjustments I was receiving. Was at every 3 weeks or so, but Tri-West pust this to 1-2 times a week. This I told them was not working. Their idea was to hire an in-house Chiropractor, Went one time and hurt so bad for almost 10 days which I kept a daily journal which I turned over to the VAMC. Spent most of those days on my back in bed. No response I contacted Patient Advocacy all they did was point fingers with absolutely nothing to say. Called to tell them I’ll never let their in-house Chiropractor touch me again. over 2 months, and still no word on anything whether from my Primary care or Neurologist. Tri-West has been far less helpful then I don’t know what. Cannot be the only one being pushed aside or plainly ignored.

  2. Christopher Murray    

    I go to the VA often for various problems, and will continue to go. I have been treated very well. I don’t doubt there are people that have problems with their VA facility. When I go to my VA it is always full of patients. If there is folks that don’t like it like they say then don’t go. Imagine if it didn’t exist, where would you be then.

  3. Kathryn Bradford    

    I have read and replied to some of the notes all of you have left. The sad part – NOBODY is going to do a darn thing about the VA and it will just go on like it is for many years and like it has for many years. I hope all of you find answers to your problems just like I have mine. Leaving the VA behind for me was just a good thing to do. Good luck to all of you. I even have to laugh we have to do math problems to post our comment. LOL

  4. Paul Warholak    

    A Travesty !!! And what’s w the math questions ?

    [Editor: the Capctha is a program that protects websites against bots by generating and grading simple tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. In fact, as I’m approving these comments that came in overnight, I’ve already deleted 30 others as spam.]

  5. Charles O Williams    

    In 2016, I had an appointment with a psychiatrist at a VA Clinic, Decatur, GA. whom I had seen a few times on a 90 day basis. The doctor who displayed his own mental struggles, ask me if I had thought about committing suicide today. I spontaneously said, “No!” He then asked me “why not”. I spontaneously answered, “ For me to commit suicide is for me to provide me with a permanent solution to a temporary situation!” He immediately told me, “I can not help you and asked me to leave his office. He walked me out to the main lobby waiting area. The last thing he said to me was “ I will let your primary physician know I have referred you back to her for any issues you have with your mental health. During the experiences with this psychiatrist, I reviewed his notes in my visits with him. What I noticed was the notes were always the same. Basically he was copying and pasting the notes from the previous 90 day visits.

    The lady PCP I had at the time retired in 2018 and I was assigned a newly hired male doctor, who provides poor care. I requested through a VAMC office to have me assigned to a new PCP on October 29, 2019. After being shown how to complete the form, the non-caring male worker stamped the date on the form. He told me I was to take it back to the Decatur Clinic and ask that it be given to the nurse director. I drove back to the clinic and completed the directive. The last thing the man at the main center told me was “that if I did not hear from the nurse director by January 29, 2020, I was to bring a copy of the form back to him.

    I have not received a call from the nurse director and knew I won’t.

    The new male PCP provides me with poor care. Due his foreign accent, I can hardly understand him. He made notes about pulses in my feet which he never has never palpated the pedal pulses in my feet or ankle areas. Notes he has made in my chart are similarly done like the former psychiatrist. Copy and paste.

    One other thing he did was when he noticed I use an insulin pump. He asked me if I was a Type 1or Type 2 diabetic. I answered “Type II”! He raised his voice and told you do NOT need an insulin pump because you are a Type II. Who ordered it? I told him my diabetic specialist at the main VAMC. This diabetic specialist is one of the finest doctors in the Atlanta VA System. I have been using an insulin pump since 2007 and before my healthcare began at the Atlanta VAMC.

  6. Specialist 4 the, Class Watson D.W. 82nd Airborne MP Company 1972-1973    

    VA is better than nothing. I was told by a VA employee at the Durham N.C. VA that what I thought didn’t matter. She worked at station at the AOC area next to the emergency room where Homeless veterans are sent when they come in from the cold at night. It’s a small area with a half of dozen chairs for veterans to sit in to try and sleep. Not good. Plus the VA cops are mean.

  7. john valentine popynia    

    I had a hernia operation on my stomach a couple of years ago and have had constant problems with digestion and gas and so on. I asked the doctor to look into this futher and he deined futher test or treatments and I was told to just keep on doing what i have been doing and he left the room very quickly. very unprofessional still having problems?

    1. Paul Warholak    

      Terrible & the VA cops need retraining !!!

  8. Daiquiri Williams    

    I am curious as to why a medically discharged Vet, with a 90% disability rating cannot get any dental care at the VA? I understand the problem he is having with his gums is not military related, but he has no insurance. He went to the local dentist who said he needed $18,000.00 worth of work or he will lose almost all of his teeth. Who is going to pay that bill? He fought for his country for over 20 years, put his life on the line, and now no help? He is only 50, he doesn’t qualify for Medicare. He needs to be able to go to a group with other Vets and have just a casual sit down to talk about PTSD. He only has the option to do that if he commits to the whole 12 weeks. If he misses 1 meeting he can’t come back??? Makes no sense to me. Vets are still being pushed around by a system that doesn’t know how, or doesn’t want to help those who kept them all safe.

    1. Thomas Worswick    

      It is still a game with the VA, I have overheard employees at the local VA hospital tell their coworkers I am here for the paycheck and nothing else. I truly believe that is the sediment throughout the higher echelon of the VA SYSTEM.

    2. Laurie Brooks    

      That is horrible I am sorry you are going thru such difficulties with a screwed up inefficient system

    3. Stephanie Thompson    

      Does the vet have tricare insurance? Has he tried to get dental insurance through USAA?

    4. Kathryn Bradford    

      I have dental insurance through FEDVIP(Delta Dental of California) I have had it for years. It is only about $30. a month and they pay for 1/2 of most things. I think you need to find another dentist that will not charge $18,000. Some outside dentist are idiots to. My teeth were bad and they wanted a lot of money for crowns and bridges.Getting all my teeth pulled and dentures was less than $3000. out of pocket. The oral surgeon who pulled my teeth tried to charge me $600 more than what the dental insurance paid. Yes I got my money back for that. Be for warned get permission from the dental insurance to have the procedures done. The dental insurance company does have a list of dentist that work with your dental insurance company. Also you usually have to pay up front. The dental office will submit the claim. If there is any money that was over charged you will get it back. I have never used the VA for dental care. I was under 55 when I had all my dental work done and thank God for my boss who loaned me the $3000. to have the dental work done.

  9. Estella    

    Get free Audio book: The Braille and Talking Books Program is accomplished through a nationwide network of libraries to serve citizens and Veterans living inside the U.S. or abroad. Applying for this service is easy. Call the National Library Service at 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) or visit them on the web at http://www.loc.gov/ThatAllMayRead

  10. K S    

    I was connected to a very good non-va mental health clinician through Veteran’s Choice when living in California… after 20 years of suicidal depression and being told I have to travel 2 1/2 hours one way 2x a week for treatment (before moving to California). I even had to fight for Veteran’s Choice for 3 years even though I was over-qualified. Circumstances forced me to move to NM and I lost my excellent therapist. I went to the walk in mental health clinic in Albuquerque to be validated in my military traumas and to have recorded that I have Complex PTSD and had been raped during my term in service and I needed trauma therapy.

    They wrote it down. I was called by a psychiatrist to verify my complaints. She went so fast through the rigid treatment protocol and would ask me questions without waiting for an answer before racing through the next step… I burst into tears. But that did not stop her or even slow her down. I was told I would be contacted by the end of the week. Then she said she was late for a meeting and hung up.

    That was too accurate, I was called right before closing on Friday; the woman left a message and when I called back 5 min later the office was closed. The next week I called back several times and finally, mid week, I received a call back to schedule an intake appointment. By the time the day arrived for my appointment I had two different locations with appointments 30 min apart. (Remember I have Complex PTSD, anxiety attacks and all!) It was hard to find anyone and I had stepped into the wrong building. I was helped to find the therapist and that’s when the nightmare began. There was only a skeleton crew because the president gave everyone the day off. The therapist was on leave at the time of the announcement and when she got back it was too late to reschedule all her appointments. She sat me down, criticized me for the 7 months of therapy that was helping me, rather than validating I had a traumatic childhood and I suffered from the freeze response when threatened or overwhelmed she accused me of being aggressive and controlling, when I gave answers she didn’t want to hear she would give me the right answers, she would get angry that I could not stay focused on 1 PTSD (ie. She tells me- not asks me, ‘You were fine before you were raped right, And now you’re not.’ I said ‘No, I wasn’t fine before- I was molested as a child and that left scars. After I was raped I couldn’t bounce back anymore- my entire personality changed and I attempted suicide twice.’ She replies ‘Why didn’t you complete suicide? Anyone that really wants to commit suicide does it.’ I told her I didn’t know and that I should be dead and just didn’t die. She then asked ‘Why didn’t you try more serious means to commit suicide?’ Again I didn’t know. I thought taking medication I was allergic to (the first suicide attempt) would have been enough. I get suicidal with anxiety attacks, not wit depression; when I am in an attack I look for whatever is close to me.) Is the intake was filtering through my mind on the 2 1/2 hour drive home, I had one of the worst anxiety attacks in years and I began screaming at myself and punching the crap out of my head on the highway. I’ve never been a danger to other people before, so you get an idea how bad this was. I pulled off and called the crisis line; the woman stayed on with me for at least an hour and a half- she wanted to have someone come out and check on me but I’m living homeless with animals and I didn’t want them put in a shelter. I finally calmed down enough to get home and from that moment on (Dec. 24- today, Jan9) I have been living in Dissociation again. Needless to say I canceled my follow up appointment.

    22 suicides a day among veterans. I spent 2019 fighting to live and not be the next statistic in that number. And at the close of 2019 I was nearly driven to it again by the very people who are supposed to be helping climb out of that pit.

    I had an emergency appointment with my former therapist who helped me re-figure out reality to some degree, but I still can’t cry or get angry or be elated that I found a trailer to live in and can move in next month; I am still removed from emotions to protect myself from further harm and I default to chuckling or laughing as I relate old or recent traumas that I have experienced.

    I accidentally discovered the CATCH program for military members who were raped and if my police report from 20 years ago was ever electronically filed I have a means of putting my perpetrator on the list and they will be cross checking for serial offenses. This prof began in June 2019 through the efforts of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network). While I am removed from emotion, which allows me to talk about traumatic events without feeling the pain of them, I called to apply and the NCOIC could not get the system working. I am waiting to hear back on it.

    1. Gary Saunders    

      The VA does not do a great job screening the vets for the severity of your trauma nor do they prescribe the best treatment for your situation. Please look into CPT, Cognitive Processing Therapy. You will be required to address, in detail, all your trauma. But.. it can be beneficial for your anxiety, depression, poor sleep and additional issues that trauma causes. Be prepared, it’s not easy and I dont thinks the VA does a good job of preparing you for the treatment. It can help and get you to a better place.
      Good luck!

  11. Harvey C. Goodchild    

    Good VA “trying” to be Proactive by using Internet Email etc. Post Vietnam there we’re mobile Units w/Winnebego in our town, occasionally (Rural Vermont) for outreach. Never able to BRING MYSELF to be in VA (had aversion to GOVT generally – My Bad) contact til 35-40 yrs later when I “defaulted” into medical need situation w/Job change/No private Ins.
    Hope there’s better Pre REFRAD screening & followup NOW for those who experienced direct ground combat. Ours amounted to 2 Lines (Ft Lewis – Army) One for those who wanted to wait 2-3 days (or Longer for Medical/Psyc tests) to claim disability, and the other for those who “Wanted to get Out Immediately” & head home the following day. Easy choice there. Army Spent more time/effort looking through contents our duffel bags for Contraband than evaluating state of Mind/body.
    I still find VA Medical (I have NOT, Thankfully, required frequent Medical services anyway) to be a default system w/Lower Standard of Care/Customer Service, generally although Medically Trained folks generally motivated while at times unable to commit sufficient time per patient, given admin/constraints.
    This is of course Anecdotal for me having had 10-15 yrs of Annual routine VA Medical visits now, some clinic visits, and 2-3 ER visits & couple TURP (Uinarary blockage remediation) procedures at VA Hosp/WRJ Vermont. Good Outcomes.
    Thank You for MY SERVICE (And YOURS).

  12. Donna Turney    

    This is not exactly accurate. The same day mental health service is only if you go to the ER and admit you if you are sucicidal to get entered into the hospital for help.
    Also the Mission Act, at least in my findings have to be approved by your Doctor at the Veterans Administration Thar is a joke.It is still impossible to get the help you need because the veterans administration is only worried about money.
    I have several documents and communications to prove it.
    I have bern working with my brother in Missouri a Vietnam vet to get him 100 percent approved for PTSD war related since 2000. They gave him 30 percent after 8 years and the help of a local Senator. This was the minimum. and now for the rest we are in appeals since 2016 waiting for Judge still 87,000 cases ahead of him and they average approx 100 a day. You figure it out He is 70 years old and no medication seems to work .
    I have fought for Spravato the new drug which VA has given 5 excuses why he can’t get it. V A doesn’t give Spravato but many doctors do. They will not approve him through mission act The latest excuse is he is over 65 and v a will not approve anyone over 65. Yes discrimination indeed .The letter written to Wilke Secretary of Veteans Administration has not been
    answered and I sent months ago along with all documentation.
    So don’t tell me how they are better they are still keeping Vietnam veterans from what is due to them It really is put them off and wait for them to just die

  13. Linda helm    

    The Vietnam war has left a sour taste to me first my brother killed over there and the heartache it caused their family and now my husband has agent orange and at 60% disability, and can’t move forward with new problems weekly and monthly and still at 60% the pain of him not getting a 100% percent disability is beyond me, I feel you are waiting for home to die,just so you don’t have to give it to him, I should be grateful but the cost of that war is just shameful to me. So many of these men need help,and where is it to come from.

    1. Kathryn Bradford    

      After 19 years and 3 different VA’s I had had enough. I am 65 now and am eligible for Medicare. The last VA in Salt Lake City did absolutely nothing for me. Nobody ever bothered to call me about test results whether good or bad. They would do cat scans/bone scans and never do anything I probably have cancer just from all the cat scans and x-rays they have done thru the years. I had a stress test done and nobody told me anything. I had to call and get the results from some nurse who just happen to be on duty that day. The doctor assigned to the clinic was not even in that day. Don’t you think stress test results are important to the patient whether they are good or bad. If I did not ask about getting a mammogram they would never have done anything. It will be 2 years since my last mammogram thru the VA. I got my mammogram thru the civilian doctor I was seeing. The last time I talked to the nurse before seeing the doctor she never asked about meds I was taking/drug use/smoking habits/eating habits. Took my temp and blood pressure and away she went. I have never seen the same doctor twice at the VA in Salt Lake City. They have residence from the University of Utah working in the Women’s clinic. They do not have the ability to look in my record. One resident gave me arthritis cream for my knee. I had 1 x-ray done by a civilian doctor and he said I had bone spurs. When I decide to have my knee replaced I’m not going back to the VA. I will go back to the civilian doctor approved through Medicare. So much for serving my country for 20 years. If your just out of service and are not very sick you can use the VA but otherwise find good health insurance and find a doctor who cares you and your care. Something else you should know if you are using the VA and are out of area for the VA and you have an emergency that’s great. The VA takes care of emergencies. Read this carefully – the VA WILL NOT PAY FOR AFTERCARE AT THE NON VA DOCTOR!! You must go to the VA for your after care.

  14. William Pierson    

    How do I get the “Free Audiobooks” ?

  15. Lynn C Williams    

    I just had knee replacement surgery, an I am on medIA care refer to Texas orthopedic sergeants by the VA I thought the VA was going to help cover the cost they didn’t I was day before surgery they gave me a 12,000 dollar bill the night before surgery, I am on Social Security make $800 a month hey a hundred and $44 and Medicare

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