U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Veteran Mental Health
How can we make it easier and safer for veterans to seek care for their mental health needs?
Partners and Sponsors
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs supports America’s 21 million veterans in accessing mental healthcare services, both from VA medical centers and third-party providers. In partnership with the VA Center for Innovation, we carried out research with over 60 individuals — veterans, spouses, service providers, and healthcare experts — across the United States to get a multi-dimensional view of the experiences that veterans and their families have when attempting to access mental healthcare. We identified four needs that are common to veterans, their supporters and caregivers, and the mental healthcare system overall: for clarity, community, continuity, and confidentiality.
Drawing on our findings, we developed 11 recommendations for how the VA can improve access to mental care, across three timeframes: Quick Win projects can have a rapid impact and make access easier almost immediately; Pilot Projects explore new approaches to care and measure impact before rolling out on a larger scale; and System Transformations reimagine entire systems via large-scale institutional and/or legislative change. Our recommendations, released in 2016, have been presented to the executive leadership of the VA and are being used as the basis of a series of efforts to transform VA’s delivery of mental healthcare.