Associated Press: VA braces for surge in mental-health demand

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and its partner mental-health providers have kept thousands of veterans in treatment during the coronavirus pandemic through telehealth appointments.”

“But as job losses and increased social isolation take an extended toll, some veterans’ advocates worry the already understaffed VA medical facilities can’t keep up and that telehealth isn’t enough.”

“The VA on Friday kicked off a ‘Now is the Time’ campaign aimed at alerting veterans and their families to the mental-health resources that are available to them.”

“But veterans advocates still are waiting for a report by a White House task force established by President Donald Trump last year that was charged with developing a national road map to boost mental-health care and stem persistently high suicide numbers among veterans, who have been hard hit in the pandemic.”

“Release of the task force report had been scheduled in March but was abruptly shelved because of the outbreak.”

“‘We are not happy about this decision because we understand that there are partnerships and financial resources tied to this plan that we’d like to see implemented immediately,’ said Chanin Nuntavong, executive director of The American Legion’s Washington office.”

“VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told veterans groups in a call last week that the draft report was being finalized but declined to give a release date…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA braces for surge in mental-health demand – By Sarah Blake Morgan, Claudia Lauer, and Hope Yen – May 12, 2020. Associated Press.

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