Published On: September 10th, 2021|545 words|1.8 min read|
Mental health is a complex issue. While it has received increased attention over the last few years, there are still some subjects, like suicide, that may be difficult to discuss, especially for Veterans. As we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day, and National Suicide Prevention Week as a whole, we want to stress that, here at VA, preventing suicide among all Veterans is a top priority. To help those Veterans, we have a committed team of mental health professionals working on the front line of mental health care.
Our psychiatrists deliver clinical care leadership across mental health venues and practice state-of-the-art psychiatry. VA psychiatrists often engage in teaching and research, which allows our team greater insight into concerns like suicide.
Fully 10% of all practicing psychiatrists in the nation work here at VA and experience a number of benefits, not the least of which is a doctor/patient ratio that ensures Veterans get the best of their mental health provider with each visit.
VA psychologists take on leadership roles; work in management, research, academia, and training; and even impact system-wide policies. They also have the opportunity to practice in several specialized areas, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries, and serious mental illness.
“It’s been said that the richest people are the ones who have lives filled with great meaning, and I just can’t imagine a job that pays more than this one,” said Joel Schmidt, a VA psychologist of nearly 3 decades.
Our social workers provide direct clinical services and coordinate special interest programs – all while working with the interdisciplinary care team to deliver care in the best interests of the patient.
“We are often consultants to the other disciplines on what impacts people’s well-being and their experience – like their marriage, their past, their childhood, their current family, their work, etc. Social justice is truly what drives us; this helps the entire team function because it calls out the blind spots,” said Elizabeth Kleeman, a licensed clinical social worker supervising the suicide prevention team at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center.
The psychiatric nursing field at VA encompasses registered nurses and advanced practice nurses, as well as nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. A national leader in trauma treatment, we also give psychiatric nurses the opportunity to work in specialized practice areas.
“The more I learned about VA hospitals and the men and women who sought VA hospital health care, the more humbled I was by these extraordinary people,” said Jessica Crabtree, a registered nurse in a VA inpatient psychiatry unit. “I felt the decision to do everything I could to make the lives of these amazing men and women better was not a choice.”
Work at VA
Our team is always ready and able to assist a Veteran or their loved ones when it comes to mental health. Together, we can make a difference, and let all Veterans know they are not alone.