VA Programs: Mental Health Resources
Veterans who have endured the trauma of war and/or the stresses of reintegrating into the civilian world may be at a greater risk for PTSD, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. As such, mental health issues are major hot topics in the veteran community.
Still, when you or a loved one is suffering from mental health issues, it can be difficult to know how and where to reach out for help.
For those who qualify, the Department of Veterans Affairs is a great place to start. Here, we’ve outlined the mental health resources and services that the VA offers to veterans with mental illness.
Who Is Eligible for Help?
Combat veterans are eligible for free individual and group counseling for themselves and their families at Vet Centers. These services are available even for combat veterans who are not enrolled in VA healthcare or receiving disability compensation.
Resources and support are also available to veteran caregivers through caregiver support coordinators at VA medical centers. Caregivers can also talk with mental health professionals for free through the VA’s Coaching into Care program.
The VA also sponsors other resources for veterans. Make the Connection is a site that allows veterans and their families to receive support from one another and from local services. In addition, veterans can call a 24/7 hotline (877-927-8387) to talk with other veterans about their experiences.
What Services Are Available?
The VA offers support and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues, including PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, bipolar disorder, substance use, schizophrenia, anxiety, and more. Specific services include:
- counseling for military sexual trauma (MST)
- readjustment counseling
- grief counseling
- employment counseling
- assessment and referral for substance abuse
To take the first step on your mental health journey, contact your nearest Vet Center or call the general VA hotline (800-827-1000). You can also contact your local VA Community Resource and Referral Center, which will help point you toward non-VA resources in the event that you don’t qualify for VA health care.
Getting Help in a Crisis
Mental health crises don’t always occur between the hours of 9 and 5. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7. Call 988 or text 838255. If you are afraid that you might hurt yourself or someone else, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
If you are currently homeless or at risk of being homeless, you can contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans by calling 877-424-3838.
National Veterans Homeless Support seeks to eliminate homelessness among veterans in Central Florida and nationwide. NVHS takes a proactive, intervention-based approach to homelessness by meeting homeless veterans where they are and helping them from there. Through programs like Search and Rescue Outreach, NVHS helps homeless veterans get the supplies they need to survive, connects them with support and resources, and helps them transition off the streets and into temporary or permanent housing. If you’re able, consider supporting our mission by donating or signing on as a volunteer.