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White House Hosts First-Ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

White House Hosts First-Ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference

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On July 11, the White House hosted the first-ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference. The event brought together administration leaders, veteran service organizations, military service organizations, mental health professionals, and leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs to discuss issues related to expanding access to mental healthcare for veterans and military families.

At the event, representatives of the Obama administration affirmed their commitment to raising awareness, building treatment capacity, investing in research, and significantly increasing access to mental health care. As part of this effort, the Department of Veterans Affairs will hold 152 community mental health summits across the country in coming months to continue the conversation at a local level. The local summits will be an opportunity for community providers to gain an improved understanding of VA services and operations and will also allow the VA to better understand the both community providers’ capacity and delivery systems, as well as how the agency can better connect with community providers to offer care to veterans and families in need.

In 2012, more than 1.3 million Veterans received specialized mental health care from the VA. Based on this growing need, the VA is continuing to hire more mental health professionals and expand the use of innovative technology to serve Veterans in both urban and in rural or underserved areas.  The VA has also launched a new website, www.mentalhealth.va.gov, which will provide information and resources on mental health to veterans and their families.

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