VA Wants Your Input on its Mental Health Care


The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to know what you think of their mental health care -- and how to improve it.

According to the VA, nearly 1.7 million veterans are receiving mental health services from either their inpatient or outpatient facilities. Now the VA is holding meetings across the nation looking for ways to make that care more effective.

These meetings were mandated by Public Law 114-198, known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016. That law, while mainly addressing the nation's opioid epidemic, also created veterans treatment courts and a commission within the VA known as COVER, or the Creating Options for Veterans' Expedited Recovery Commission, which is tasked by law to meet regularly to examine the effectiveness of VA's mental health efforts.

The commission is also required to examine how VA is serving the mental health needs of veterans and take into consideration any suggestions that may improve VA's treatment methods.

According to the law, the commission should consider ways to replace and/or supplement VA's traditional methods of mental health treatment. That includes replacing or updating the traditional therapy-based treatment with such types of non-traditional therapies as music, animal, sports, exercise or non-western medicine.

The commission is also examining whether or not veterans can receive better mental health treatment from non-VA facilities, and of course the cost-effectiveness of any and all existing or recommended treatments.

The commission will prepare a report to Congress and the President with their determinations and recommendations when complete.

Anyone is able to attend the meetings, which will be held from Aug. 12 - Aug. 28.

To learn more about participating in a focus group, email or visit the VA's website for more details.

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Mental Health and Wellness