Veterans Administration Key Statistics on
PTSD Treatment and Suicide
Prevention are very actively being addressed by
Obama and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
as a TOP PRIORITY
PTSD TREATMENT: KEY STATISTICS
- The President and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki have made treating Veterans living with PTSD a top priority. Under their leadership, VA simplified claims processing for Veterans with PTSD in July 2010. This decision streamlined the delivery of medical care and benefits to Veterans suffering verifiable PTSD resulting from combat.
- Under Secretary Shinseki’s leadership, VA has hired more than 3,500 mental health professionals since January 2009 and the mental health staff now totals over 21,000.
- As a matter of policy implemented in 2007, the Veterans Health Administration seeks to assess all Veterans new to VA mental health care within 24 hours if a Veteran is in crisis.
- Further, the policy sets a goal of fully evaluating Veterans (who are not in crisis) for mental health care within 14 days, and as of April 2011, VA has achieved a success rate over 95 percent.
- Thanks to the support of Congress, funding for VA mental health programs has risen to over $5.2 billion in fiscal year 2011. The President's 2012 budget request includes $6.2 billion for mental health program-- $1 billion more than this year, a nearly 20 percent increase.
- Last fiscal year, 408,167 Veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD received specialty mental health treatment at VA medical centers and clinics. More than 1.2 million Veterans received specialty mental health care from VA – a caseload level that increases each year. For example, in fiscal year 2008, 326,293 Veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD received specialty mental health treatment, and just over 1 million Veterans received specialty mental health care from VA.
- The number of Vet Centers providing counseling to Veterans has grown to nearly 300, many of which are located in rural and underserved communities. More than 190,000 Veterans and their family members visited the centers 1.2 million times in 2010 alone.·
- In October 2009, VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) convened the first-ever national summit meeting to make recommendations for how the departments can work more effectively together to meet the mental health needs of America’s military personnel, Veterans, and families.
- In 1989, VA created the National Center for PTSD to conduct innovative research that guides clinical care. Such research has validated effective treatments for PTSD and identified abnormalities in behavior, sleep, cognition, memory, and biological correlates associated with PTSD.
SUICIDE PREVENTION: KEY STATISTICS
- Through Secretary Shinseki’s leadership, efforts begun in February 2007, have been realized, resulting in the placement of a Suicide Prevention Coordinator or team in every one of the 152 VA medical centers in the US.
- VA’s Veterans Crisis Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) was established in July 2007, and has expanded significantly in the past two years to provide an immediate response to Veterans in need of help, saving lives and linking Veterans to effective ongoing mental health services. To date, the experts staffing the hotline have saved the lives of more than 15,000 veterans who were in immediate suicidal crisis and over 55,000 callers have been provided a referral to a VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator.
- In July 2009, the Veterans Crisis Line launched their online, anonymous chat service, and as of April 2011, there have been almost 17,000 chatters who have utilized the service; many of them have been referred to the Crisis Line for immediate care.
- All of this work is paying off. Based on the most recent data, suicide rates have decreased among Veterans in VHA's care – especially those in the critical age group of 18 to 29.