Saturday, September 1, 2012

#Veterans #Healthcare: #Obama orders improvements in mental health care

 The executive order, “Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members and Military Families,” includes actions to improve access to mental health services for service members and veterans, including enhanced partnerships with community providers and increased VA staffing; and mental health research, a senior White House official said.

Under the order, VA must expand its veterans’ crisis line capability by 50 percent by Dec. 31 and ensure that veterans who identify as being a danger to themselves or others connect with a trained mental health professional within 24 hours.

VA also is required to partner with DoD in developing and implementing a nationwide year-long suicide prevention campaign aimed at veterans.

The order also authorizes VA to expand programs based on veterans helping veterans, directing the department to hire 800 more peer-to-peer counselors, and it also directs VA to work with HHS to establish a pilot program that leverages community mental health resources to reduce the waiting times veterans often face when seeking mental health services.

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