VA Mental Health Care for Veterans: GAO’s 5 Key Findings

Photo courtesy of the Army Brainhealth website.

An estimated 2.1 million individual veterans received mental health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs between 2006 and 2010. That was the first question the U.S. Government Accountability Office was asked to address.

The GAO report was prompted by recent legislation that increased the priority for Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) veterans to access VA health care and questioned the extent of mental health care the VA is providing to eligible veterans of all eras.

VA Mental Health Key Findings:

  1. Each year the number of veterans receiving mental health care increased from 900,000 in 2006 to 1.2 million in 2010.
  2. The number of OEF/OIF veterans receiving mental health care increased from 4 percent to 12 percent over the five years.
  3. The VA now requires all veterans treated in primary care settings to be screened for mental health conditions such as PTSD, depression, substance abuse disorders, and military sexual trauma.
  4. Stigma, logistics and a lack of awareness of VA mental health services hinder veterans from receiving care.
  5. The VA has a perception problem. There are concerns about VA care and beliefs by younger OEF/OIF veterans and women veterans that VA services are for older veterans or male veterans.

You can read the full VA Mental Health Number of Veterans Receiving Care, Barriers Faced, and Efforts to Increase Access report HERE.


One Response

  1. It is important that the veterans and active military receive care for whatever they may have or are going through. Their mental health is important.

    What I’d like to see from the VA is care/treatment for them more with the alternative treatments that are available. My experience is that they are “treated” mostly with psychotropic drugs. This does not handle or cure the problem. It only covers over or alters the problem.
    There is NO scientific proof of any of the diagnosed conditions by psychiatry.

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