Wed, April 08

Letter: Our mission is to increase access to our care and services


Last year, VA provided specialty mental health services to more than 1.3 million Veterans -- a 35 percent increase since 2007 in the number of Veterans who received mental health services at VA.

That’s why we recently announced that VA will add an additional 1,600 mental health staff professionals and an additional 300 support staff members nationwide.

We have devoted more people, programs, and resources to Veteran mental health services. VA has increased the mental health care budget by 39 percent since 2009.

What’s more, we’ve increased the number of mental health staff members by 41 percent since 2007. That means today, we have a team of professionals that’s 20,590 strong -- all dedicated to providing much-needed direct mental health treatment to Veterans.

Our mission is to increase access to our care and services. We’ve greatly increased the number of Veterans Readjustment Counseling Centers (Vet Centers) throughout the country. We’ve also developed an extensive suicide prevention program that saves lives every day.

For example, our team at the Veteran Crisis Line has fielded more than 600,000 calls from Veterans in need and helped rescue more than 21,000 Veterans who were in immediate crisis.

That’s 21,000 veterans who have been saved.

The mental health of America’s Veterans not only touches those of us at VA and the Department of Defense, but also families, friends, co-workers, and people in our communities. We ask that you urge Veterans in your communities to reach out and connect with VA 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 Immediate help is available at, or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.

James E. Belmont, Jr.

Acting Medical Center Director

Prescott VA facility

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