White House, VA Launch Nationwide Community Mental Health Summits
by Robert Petzel
July 11, 2013
At VA, and in communities across our grateful nation, we are all committed to the health and well-being of the men and women who have served in uniform and their families. The invisible wounds of war follow our Veterans as they return, and it is our responsibility to proactively engage Veterans and promote their recovery.
We at VA don’t just treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression, or substance abuse. We treat complex human beings, and we help them reintegrate into a life of family and community. Last year, more than 1.3 million Veterans received specialized mental health care from the VA.
On June 3, VA announced it had hired more than 1,600 additional mental health clinical providers to expand Veterans’ access to high quality mental health services and meet the goal outlined in the President’s Executive Order. While VA has been expanding its mental health resources, we recognize that we cannot meet all the needs and challenges alone — we must collaborate and partner with other federal agencies, community based organizations, health care providers, Veteran Service Organizations, and local governments.
Last month, President Obama directed all 152 VA medical centers nationwide to host Community Mental Health Summits. These summits will promote awareness and utilization of VA mental health resources, help Veterans gain access to community services, and build healthy communities for Veterans and their families. I’m pleased to report that our Summits will begin this month and our facilities are eager to host these summits in ways that will be meaningful for the participants.
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