YOURNEWS: VA announces recruitment effort to hire mental health professionals


BY Paul Sherbo, YOURNEWS contributer

DENVER | 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, well over 200 mental health clinicians and support staff work locally supporting Denver area Veterans.
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 the Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) is already actively treating Veterans through individualized care, readjustment counseling, and immediate crisis services. ECHCS staff has contributed to mental health excellence by utilizing a multidisciplinary mental health approach to serve over 20,500 individual Veterans last year.  ECHCS provides a full range of comprehensive mental health services including an acute inpatient hospital unit, residential treatment program for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and outpatient services including a Psychiatry Emergency Service, general outpatient Mental Health Clinics in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Alamosa, La Junta, Salida, Lamar, and Burlington.
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 (push 1) or text 838255.

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