VA Brags Up Its Mental Health Care

VA Brags Up Its Mental Health Care

VA sent me an email yesterday telling me how great of a job they are doing with mental health. This is, of course, ironic in light of yesterday’s post here written by Sierra Juliet about how crappy a job VA is doing in the area of therapy for vets.

In their email, VA highlighted how great of a job they are doing by fielding lots of phone calls and treating lots of veterans. This is interesting because VA repeatedly highlights quantity of care as evidence of how great of a job it is doing, “We have made strong progress, but we must do more.” Duh.

VA cites it has hired many more mental health professionals in the past two years, 1,600 in fact. But notice that the term “mental health professionals” is rather ambiguous. I guess I’d feel more positive if it said there were 1,600 more psychologists or therapists.

Nothing for nothing, at least they are allocating more resources. Hopefully, they are spending the cash the right way.

Here is VA’s Mental Health Care bragging sheet: VA Mental Health Care.

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  1. a “rat” will only take what is there and unguarded. When the “VOICE OF THE PEOPLE” is finally listened to rather than just heard, the rats will have to “ABANDON SHIP”.

  2. Here some more good information for you all to think about. A psychologist in the Southern Nevada Health system informed me that he, let alone seeing patient as part of his job, He also has in the past and will be starting again soon, making C and P decisions on some of the veterans that he will be seeing in the future.

    His example to me is, they assign him a C and P case, he brings in the patient for his exam, he makes a decision on the Vets rating and later on down the line the Vet needs some counseling/treatment and he is the only person available in the office to see this Vet.

    The Psychologist (we will call him Dr. HopeURBetter) himself has complained about this practice, he believes it is defiantly a “conflict of interest”. But as he explained to me, he is being forced to do this, because of the Back Log of claims and they can’t hire anyone to do it.

    So trying to give the VA the benefit of the doubt are they trying to piece us the back together again the best they can? you make your own decision on that.

    And to be honest, Mental Health issues are not getting the help they need this is why we here about cases everyday in the paper. Not just Vets, but a lot of others with issues are not being taking care of.

  3. I’ve been to civilian psychiatrist and psychologist because I had no faith in the VA mental health care services at first. For treating sever cronic combat PTSD. I been through a VA’s 4 month inpatient PTSD program in Virginia. I’ve been through a VA’s 12 week outpatient PTSD program in Oklahoma. I’m 80% service connected just in PTSD alone. That’s not my total rateing, which is higher. So to be honest with you. I have received more comprehensive, upto date treatment and better treatment thru the VA’s OEF/OIF program. Then through any civilian Dr’s. That were being paid well over $125.00 an hour. Between me and my medical insurance. So in my opinion VA is doing ok as far as the care goes for OEF/OIF Combat Veterans suffering with PTSD. Of course there is always room for improvement. Some major over haul change improvement and some minor improvement. Sometimes it’s just a matter of what vet you talk to.

  4. That was my biggest complaint about the Philadelphia VA, your intake is with a psychologist but your continued care is with a non-titled counselor. They can be very friendly but when dealing with major issues a friendly chat is not the solution. I requested to see the psychologist who did my intake but every time I met with him there was no structure or plan to help, rather it was just to listen to me and ask “how does that make you feel”? It almost seemed this guy was so used to doing intakes that he’d fallen out of actual practice. I have no faith in the VA mental health department, I believe it’s set up just to say they at least have one. This is my own opinion, maybe others have had it better.

  5. Benjamin,
    After reading Sierra’s blog yesterday it really made me think about my Mental Health experience. I have had the same problems with Mental Health Dr’s as she has had. I am on my sixth, yes sixth one. Each have ended as hers did. My current one is not very caring to me and I am sure he is this way with all others. When I have a problem I would like to discuss with him for help, his only answer to it is “So, what are you going to do about it” or “well it is not that bad and you don’t want to just end it and take the easy way out” or “so are you just going to end it?” I leave there sometimes so upset that I have to take time to cool down. He does not care or does not have he knowledge to help me. I am thinking about getting another person.
    Here is the one thing that Sierra did not get into and I will. If you stop going to see your mental health Dr. and try apply for an increase in your mental health disability because it has gotten worse (mainly due to these unqualified Dr’s) then you have nothing to back-up your side or to help with the increase. If they see you have had many Dr’s (like Sierra, myself and I am sure many more) they look at that as you are trying to find someone who will write what you want and in a way that is true. You want a Dr. who will understand you and relate that and put in the report he/she files. I think the whole Mental Health Portion is a huge catch 22 and we as veterans’ are the one paying for it with not being approved for a much needed increase, better qualified Dr’s that actually understand us and can help, and at the worse we feel that no one knows or cares about us and we give up and we all know what that ends with. I wish so much more could be done and I hope and pray that Sierra can open this up so some of us so we can help each other and get the proper help we need, we deserve. I know I would travel many, many miles to get the right Dr. Thank you Sierra for opening this up and to let us in on your experience in the messed up Mental health System and I for one will let you know you are not alone. Thank you, I feel your pain in your story and it takes me back to the many who did not care or want to help me.

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