In an effort to reach vets, VA turns to their families
Published: June 25, 2012
WASHINGTON — Mental health experts from last week’s suicide prevention conference noted that often friends and family members of veterans are more likely to see signs of depression and stress in those former troops than the veterans themselves. As part of post-traumatic stress disorder month, VA officials are trying to remobilize those caregivers in their outreach effort.
As part of a national media campaign, the department is highlighting its Coaching into Care program, which gives callers advice and ideas on ways to “encourage the veteran to seek care while respecting his or her right to make personal decisions.”
The program is available weekdays by phone at 1-888-823-7458 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. Calls generally take between 10 and 30 minutes, and include information about mental illnesses and support services, as well as an overview of the VA health care system.
The program is not designed for immediate crisis intervention. In those cases, officials still recommend the Veterans Crisis Hotline, available at 1-800-273-8255.
But in a statement, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said the Coaching into Care program is a valuable option to “expand our reach to those who need our services the most.”
More information is available at the program website at http://www.mirecc.va.gov/coaching/.