VA Announces Recruitment Effort to Hire Mental Health Professionals
June 12, 2012
WICHITA, KANSAS – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed an aggressive national mental health hiring initiative to improve recruitment and hiring, marketing, education and training programs, and retention efforts for mental health professionals.
To speed the national hiring process, VA developed the Mental Health Hiring Initiative, a multi-faceted, sustained National marketing and outreach campaign that includes targeted recruitment of mental health providers willing to take positions throughout the country, including in rural and highly rural markets, to serve all VA Medical Centers and community clinics.
VA has an existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Currently, 85 mental health providers support Veterans from the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, throughout our 59-county catchment area in rural Kansas.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki noted that “as the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans.”
The team at Dole VAMC is already actively treating Veterans through individualized care, readjustment counseling, and immediate crisis services. Dole VAMC staff have contributed to mental health excellence by increasing staff and services by 400% over the past five years by: implementing telemedicine mental health to community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs); increasing substance-use treatment programs; developing a team care process for each Veteran served; expanding availability of evidence-based therapies for Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder; and being the lead medical center in our VA network in providing services to homeless Veterans and their families.
The initiative will help VA to meet existing and future demands of mental health care services in an integrated collaborative team environment and continue to position VA as an exemplary workplace for mental health care professionals.
“Mental health services must be closely aligned with Veterans’ needs and fully integrated with health care facility operations,” said VA Under-Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “Improving access to mental health services will help support the current and future Veterans who depend on VA for these vital services.”
To locate the nearest VA facility or Vet Center for enrollment and to get scheduled for care, Veterans can visit VA’s website at www.va.gov. Immediate help is available at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or texting 838255.
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