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, 341 mental health clinicians and support staff work locally supporting Boston 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 VA Boston Healthcare System is already actively treating Veterans through individualized care, readjustment counseling, and immediate crisis services. VA Boston Healthcare System staff has contributed to mental health excellence by providing an extraordinarily wide range of services for the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse. The Mental Health Service at VA Boston Healthcare System encompasses over 40 different programs and has a budget allocation of approximately $50 million per annum. The Mental Health Service clinical programs include acute and longer term inpatient mental health treatment in the form of 140 psychiatric and detoxification beds. Urgent and emergent mental health services are provided in the emergency department and at two additional urgent care centers in the system. Residential care is provided for serious mental illness, substance abuse, and for homeless veterans through over 100 residential and domiciliary beds. A wide variety of vocational programming is also managed through the Mental Health Service. Veterans’ homelessness services are provided through the HUD-VASH program and through over 300 grant per diem beds throughout eastern Massachusetts. Evidence-based subspecialty and general mental health outpatient treatment is provided for over 13,000 Veterans annually in various clinics on the three major medical center campuses and in four community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs).
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.”
Read more about mental health services at VA Boston.
Learn more about jobs and careers at VA Boston.