United States Department of Veterans Affairs
VA MidSouth Healthcare Network

VISN 9 to increase Mental Health staff by 134; VA nationally by 1,900

To locate the nearest VA facility or Vet Center for enrollment and to get scheduled for care, Veterans can visit VA’s website at www.va.gov.

Immediate help is available at veteranscrisisline.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki recently announced that the department will add approximately 1,600 mental health clinicians – to include nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers as well as nearly 300 support staff to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff as part of an ongoing review of mental health operations.

In the VA MidSouth Healthcare Network, known as VISN 9, facilities are authorized to hire 134 new mental health staff members.  The positions will be located throughout VISN 9 medical centers, and community based outpatient clinics located in Tennessee, Kentucky and portions of West Virginia.  Positions will be advertised on USAJOBS (http://www.usajobs.gov). Recruitment is currently underway.

“As the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans,” said Secretary Shinseki. “History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. As more Veterans return home, we must ensure that all Veterans have access to quality mental health care.”

“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.”

VA has enhanced services by integrating mental health care into primary care, developed an extensive suicide prevention program, and increased the number of Veterans Readjustment Counseling Centers (Vet Centers).