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Online Toolkit Available for Mental Health Providers

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The goal of the community provider toolkit is to further enhance the delivery of mental health services to veterans through increased communication and coordination of care between community providers and VA, officials said It not only provides information about accessing, communicating with, and, if needed, making referrals to VA, but also provides effective tools to assist veterans who are dealing with a variety of mental health challenges. The toolkit also includes sections intended to increase providers' knowledge about military culture.

VA is hiring 1,600 new mental health professionals and 300 support staff, as part of President Barack Obama's Aug. 31 executive order that directed improvements in mental health services for veterans, service members and military families, officials said. The executive order also directed a 50 percent increase in the staff of the veterans' crisis line.

Last year, VA provided quality, specialty mental health services to 1.3 million veterans. Since 2009, VA has increased its mental health care budget by 39 percent. Since 2007, VA has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of veterans receiving mental health services, and a 41 percent increase in mental health staff.

Related Sites:

Community Provider Toolkit [ http://www.defense.gov/news/www.mentalhealth.va.gov/communityproviders ]

Department of Veterans Affairs  [ http://www.va.gov/ ]