VA mental health services | Veterans Affairs (2023)

Find out how to access VA mental health services for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological effects of military sexual trauma (MST), depression, grief, anxiety, and other needs. You can use some services even if you’re not enrolled in VA health care.

How do I talk to someone right now?

Find out how to get support anytime, day or night.

Get connected with mental health care—no matter your discharge status, service history, or eligibility for VA health care.

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Getting started

If you need support for a specific mental health problem—or if you’re having problems sleeping, controlling your anger, or readjusting to civilian life—you are not alone. And we can help.

Over 1.7 million Veterans received mental health services at VA last year. Our services range from peer support with other Veterans to counseling, therapy, medication, or a combination of these options. Our goal is to help you take charge of your treatment and live a full and meaningful life.

How do I schedule my first appointment?

If you’re already using VA medical services, ask your primary care provider to help you make an appointment with a VA mental health provider.

If you’re not already using VA medical services, contact your nearest VA medical center or Vet Center to talk about your needs.
Find your nearest VA medical center or Vet Center

What if I’m not sure what kind of help I need?

You can call 877-222-8387to find the right resources for your needs. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-877-8339.

We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

It’s hard for me to get to a VA facility in person. Can I get mental health services online?

Yes. You may be able to use one or more of the care options listed below.

(Video) VA Careers – Mental Health Professionals

Can I speak to a fellow Veteran who’s been through this before?

Yes. The BeThere peer assistance program, in partnership with Military OneSource, offers support to service members (including National Guard soldiers and Reservists), their families, and transitioning Veterans up to 365 days after separation or retirement. Through this program, you can talk privately with peer coaches who are Veterans, service members, or military spouses.

To talk with a peer coach, call Military OneSource’s free, confidential peer support services at 800-342-9647. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What other options do I have?

If you’re a combat Veteran, you can visit one of our Vet Centers to get free individual and group counseling for you and your family. You can access these services even if you’re not enrolled in VA health care and aren’t receiving disability compensation.

Vet Centers offer services such as:

  • Military sexual trauma (MST) counseling
  • Readjustment counseling
  • Bereavement (grief) counseling
  • Employment counseling
  • Substance abuse assessment and referral

Find a Vet Center near you

You can also call 877-927-8387to talk with a fellow combat Veteran about your experiences, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If you’d like to connect with other Veterans, families, and local services, you can visit our Make the Connection website. This site connects millions of Veterans, and their family members and friends, to local VA and community mental health resources. Visit the site to access these referral resources and hear Veteran testimonials of strength and recovery.
Go to Make the Connection

(Video) Veterans Affairs Farming and Recovery Mental Health Services (VA FARMS)

More information about VA mental health services

Get answers to other questions you may have about our services.

Being diagnosed with a mental health condition or seeking mental health care doesn’t automatically put work-related credentials, such as security clearances, at risk. Most employers recognize that healthy employees who get help when they need it are more productive and effective in their jobs than those who aren’t performing at their best because they’re not feeling well.

No. If you don’t qualify for VA health care, you may still be able to get certain health care services, like care for needs linked to military sexual trauma.

Call our general VA hotline at 800-827-1000 to find out what your care options may be. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Depending on your needs and situation, you can also:

  • Get free private counseling, alcohol and drug assessment, and other support for combat Veterans and families at one of our 300 community Vet Centers.
    Find a Vet Center near you
  • Contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trained VA counselor will offer information about VA homelessness programs, health care, and other services in your area. The call is free and confidential.
  • Call or visit your local VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Even if you don’t qualify for VA health care, our staff can help you find non-VA resources you may qualify for in your community.
    Find your local Community Resource and Referral Center

Or you can apply for VA health care to access more services:

Find out if you’re eligible for VA health care
Learn how to apply for health care benefits

To learn more about whether you’re eligible for services, call your nearest VA medical center.
Find your nearest VA medical center

Or call 877-222-8387to find the right resource for your needs. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-877-8339. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

You’ll start receiving help the day you reach out to us. We offer same-day services to make sure we can either address your mental health needs or schedule the right follow-up care right away. The specific care you receive will depend on how urgent your needs are and the level of treatment you’re looking for.

(Video) VA's Million Veteran Program Targets Mental Health Issues and Many Others

Same-day services may include care such as:

  • Meeting face-to-face with a VA health care provider (including walk-in appointments at a clinic or urgent care center)
  • Having a telehealth or video care appointment with a VA provider
  • Talking by phone with a VA nurse who can offer medical advice (called “nurse triage”)
  • Communicating with a VA provider through Secure Messaging
  • Scheduling a future appointment
  • Getting a prescription filled

We offer treatment and support for a range of mental health problems, including:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Issues related to military sexual trauma (MST)
  • Substance use problems
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

We also treat anxiety-related conditions, like:

We provide a range of mental health services such as:

  • Short-term, inpatient care for Veterans with severe or life-threatening mental illness
  • Outpatient care for Veterans with serious mental illness who have a lot of trouble functioning in daily life
  • Regular outpatient care, which may include care provided over the phone, for Veterans facing a difficult time in their lives
  • Rehabilitation treatment and residential (live-in) programs for Veterans with mental health problems and other needs (like those related to homelessness, job training, and education) who would be best helped by getting treatment or living in a structured setting for a period of time
  • Primary care for many common mental and behavioral problems
  • Supported work settings to help Veterans join the work force and live well in the community

We also provide care to Veterans in crisis. This includes:

  • Emergency mental health care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through VA medical centers and some local, non-VA hospitals
  • The Veterans Crisis Line, which offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for Veterans in crisis and their families and friends

Learn more about VA mental health services

Yes. In addition to online resources, caregiver support coordinators at your nearest VA medical center and a caregiver peer support mentoring program can help connect caregivers to one another for support and learning.

To get support as a caregiver:

You can also contact our Coaching into Care program to speak directly with a licensed psychologist or social worker, free of charge. They can provide information about mental health and VA services, as well as tips for how to begin the conversation about treatment with a loved one.

To reach a licensed psychologist or social worker:

You can use our facility locator to search for VA health facilities near you.
Find your nearest VA health facility

(Video) ChooseVA - Mental Health

Resources and support outside VA

You can also get support from resources offered by other government departments and community organizations outside of VA.

Mental health resources for Veterans, service members, and families

Military OneSource
This free service provides expert support to connect military personnel and their families with the best available resources to fit their needs. For support, visit the Military OneSource website or call 800-342-9647 anytime, day or night.

National Suicide Prevention and substance use resources

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
This 24/7, 365-day-a-year emergency mental health hotline offers support for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

To reach the hotline:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The foundation provides mental health resources for people struggling with thoughts of suicide. They also offer supportive educational tools for concerned family, friends and peers.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA offers free, confidential help with treatment referral and information services for individuals and families facing mental health and/or substance use disorders. Support is available 24/7, 365-days-a-year, in both English and Spanish.

To reach SAMHSA’s National Helpline:

Community mental health resources

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI builds better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness by providing education programs for families and individuals living with mental health problems.

The Jed Foundation
The foundation works closely with teenagers and young adults who may be experiencing mental stress or may be at risk for suicide during times of change.

Mental Health America
This organization advocates for policies that promote mental health and the rights of people living with mental health problems. They also provide education and connections to mental health resources.


What is a PSA at the VA? ›

The PSAs highlight two distinct ways in which Americans can support our Nation's Veterans — encouraging people to volunteer at VA Medical Centers and recruiting the best clinical providers for VA.

What does TMS stand for in the VA? ›

Welcome to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). To participate in training, interact with patients and gain access to our information systems you must complete an on-line mandatory training item using the VA Talent Management System (TMS) 2.0.

How do I contact local VA? ›

  1. Resources and support.
  2. Call us. 800-698-2411.
  3. Visit a medical center or regional office. Find a VA location.
13 Oct 2022

What is the most common mental illness in veterans? ›

The most publicized mental health challenges facing veterans service members are PTSD and depression. Some research has suggested that approximately 14% to 16% of U.S. service members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD or depression.

What do VA raters look for? ›

The job of the Rating Veterans Service Representative consists primarily of interpreting medical records in deciding if the medical evidence is sufficient enough to result in a favorable or unfavorable decision. First, medical evidence must show the disabling condition that is ratable and that is ongoing and not acute.

What are 3 elements of a PSA? ›

1. Elements Of A PSA
  • short.
  • goal is to change attitudes or behavior.
  • use emotion.
  • identifying tag for the organization or cause comes at the end.

What is the average VA rating for MST? ›

The most common MST-related disability is PTSD which is rated at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70% or 100% based upon a specific listing of symptoms and impact on the veteran's day-to-day life. That rating, then, is matched up to a set of marital/family statuses.

What does ELR stand for VA? ›

Education Liaison Representatives work with schools and State Approving Agencies. They cannot answer direct inquiries from Veterans or their dependents. Any such inquiries should be directed to the Education Hotline, 888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551), or Ask VA.

What does DMA stand for VA? ›

The Office of Disability and Medical Assessment (DMA) is a VA national office that facilitates the disability examination process to support field compensation and pension (C&P) clinics and the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).

What are the 5 types of veterans? ›

Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''

What can I do if my VA isn't helping? ›

If you have a problem with your care provider, VA medical facility, or any other aspect of your care, you can: Discuss the issue with your primary care provider or another member of your health care team. If that doesn't help, contact the patient advocate at your VA medical center or clinic.

What is the difference between VA and VHA? ›

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the component of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) led by the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health that implements the healthcare program of the VA through a nationalized healthcare service in the United States, providing healthcare and ...

Is major depressive disorder permanent VA? ›

However, depression can have life-long effects on a veteran's well-being and daily life. Due to this, it is possible to receive a permanent and total disability rating for depression and other mental health conditions.

What mental health conditions qualify for VA disability? ›

What mental illnesses qualify for VA disability?
  • Anxiety (including panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Amnesia.
  • Chronic adjustment disorder.
  • Cognitive disorders.
  • Eating disorders (e.g., anorexia and bulimia)
  • Mood disorders.
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

What are the 3 most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions among veterans? ›

The three most common mental health concerns for veterans are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Learn more about these mental health concerns below. What is PTSD?
Emotional symptoms of TBI include:
  • Irritability and anger.
  • Depression.
  • Insomnia.
  • Anxiety.
  • PTSD.

How long does it take a VA rater to make a decision? ›

The VA estimates that it takes them 94 days to review a VA disability application. However, many cases take much longer than that. Here are some factors that can shorten or extend the time it takes to reach a decision: Type of claim filed.

How long do VA raters take? ›

On average, the VA will release your initial disability rating within the first 180 days after the claim received has been filed. However, due to numerous variables in the rating process, fellow veterans and active service members get their initial rating within the first 90 days or must wait 270 days or longer.

What is the VA 10 year rule? ›

VA's 10-year rule states that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cannot terminate service connection for a disability that has been in place for at least 10 years unless there was evidence of fraud at the time of the grant.

What are the 4 types of PSA? ›

Types of PSA Test
  • Percent-free PSA. Two forms of PSA are present in the blood. ...
  • PSA velocity. This is a test that measures how fast the PSA level rises over time. ...
  • PSA density. ...
  • Age-specific PSA. ...
  • Further Reading.

Do people listen to PSA? ›

People can see or hear a PSA once and may not be fully convinced to take action. If the message is reinforced through other channels, viewers are more likely to have confidence in the messaging and follow through with the call to action.

What are PSA examples? ›

A PSA (Public Service Announcement) is a short informational clip that is meant to raise the audience's awareness about an important issue. PSAs may include interviews, dramatizations, animations and many other types of video and audio content.

Can I get VA 100% for PTSD due to MST? ›

The short answer is: Yes. You are entitled to veterans disability benefits for Military Sexual Trauma (MST) if it caused you to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other health conditions that make it difficult for you to work and provide. If you experienced MST, know that you're not alone.

Is MST a permanent disability? ›

MST is not a disability. However, the experience can trigger mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression that are considered compensable disabilities when they are related to a veteran's military service.

How do you prove MST? ›

There are many forms of proof that the VA will accept for proving MST such as:
  1. Lay statements from fellow service members, family members, roommates or counselors.
  2. Police records.
  3. Pregnancy tests and/or any tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
  4. Journals or notes that you wrote during the time of the trauma.
29 Jul 2020

What is the 85/15 rule for the VA? ›

The 85/15 Rule (85/15) requires that a minimal number of non-Veterans find a program worthwhile and valuable or the payment of Federal funds to Veterans who enroll in the program will not be authorized.

What does VistA stand for in VA? ›

The name "VistA" (Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture) was adopted by the VA in 1994, when the Under Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr. Ken Kizer, renamed what was previously called the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program (DHCP).

What does FMS stand for in the VA? ›

Account Classification Code (ACC): Existing only in the Financial Management System (FMS), it corresponds to the fund control point (FCP) number in Integrated Funds Control, Accounting, and Procurement (IFCAP).

What is the VA Ace process? ›

The ACE process is simply a method for completing the DBQ without an in-person or telehealth exam. A VA ACE exam can result in faster VA claim decisions.

What does CPAC stand for in VA? ›

Veterans Health Administration Consolidated Patient Account Center (CPAC) Program Workforce Development (WFD)

Does a dd214 make you a veteran? ›

Since the DD Form 214 is issued to those leaving the active military as well as to members of the National Guard and Reserves completing their initial active duty for training, possession of this document does not necessarily mean the student is a veteran.

Are you a veteran if you didn't go to war? ›

The term "veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

Who is not a protected veteran? ›

What Is a Non-Protected Veteran? You are not considered a protected Veteran if you did NOT serve active duty in the U.S. military OR if you received a dishonorable discharge from the military.

Does the VA investigate? ›

Veterans Affairs (VA) investigates reports of:

Or call the VA fiduciary program toll free number 1-888-407-0144, or the VA toll free number 1-800-827-1000. VA fiduciary hubs review all claims of misuse. If misuse is likely, VA will work quickly to replace the fiduciary.

What can cause you to lose your VA disability benefits? ›

Only in cases where fraud can be proven or a serious mistake was made can your benefits be considered for termination. If you have not been receiving VA disability for ten or more years and VA determines that your injury or illness is not service-connected, your benefits may be threatened.

Can the VA refuse to treat you? ›

In general, a VA hospital cannot deny a patient from leaving if the patient has been discharged. However, if the patient is still being treated and is considered an inpatient, the VA hospital may be able to place restrictions on the patient's ability to leave.

Are VA doctors federal employees? ›

VA employees are part of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Why does the VA put eligible beneficiaries into priority groups? ›

When you apply for VA health care, we'll assign you to 1 of 8 priority groups. This system helps to make sure that Veterans who need care right away can get signed up quickly. It also helps to make sure we can provide high quality care to all Veterans enrolled in the VA health care program.

Who controls the VA? ›

Combined, the General Assembly consists of 140 elected representatives from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

How often does VA re evaluate mental health? ›

Scheduling of Re-Examinations or Re-Evaluations

If the Veterans Administration decides that your PTSD requires future re-evaluation, you will normally be scheduled within 2 to 5 years from the date of their decision to grant disability benefits.

How often does the VA reevaluate depression? ›

Basically, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating every 2 to 5 years unless your rating is permanent or protected. Depending on the results of the reexamination and reevaluation, you may see a reduced rating.

What does the VA look for in depression? ›

The VA defines clinical depression as a condition “characterized by low self-esteem, lack of motivation, lack of interest in social activities, and low energy levels,” and it's a common issue for veterans after they're discharged from service.

What does the VA look for in anxiety? ›

A VA rating for anxiety, depression, and/or adjustment disorder is stated as a percentage, from 0% to 100%. These ratings mainly look at your occupational and social functioning, although your ability to take care of yourself (hygiene, grooming) is also considered.

Is anxiety a disability for VA? ›

Mental health is better understood today than ever before, and VA offers disability ratings and benefits to veterans suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety or depression that resulted from military service.

Can you get VA benefits for depression and anxiety? ›

The VA health care program covers depression health services. To access these services, first apply for VA health care. Once you've signed up: If you have a VA primary care provider, talk to them about your concerns.

What is the VA rating for mixed anxiety and depressed mood? ›

The Veteran's service-connected adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety, depressed mood, and headaches has been rated as 50 percent disabling throughout the appeal period. Disability ratings are based upon VA's Schedule for Rating Disabilities as set forth in 38 C.F.R. Part 4.

Does the military check your mental health records? ›

Obviously, certain security and safety positions like law enforcement and military agencies require a person to pass a mental health check. This almost always carries an in-depth look at any previous mental health issues you may have had.

Can you get kicked out of the military for mental health? ›

In the military's scheme of things, serious disorders such as major depression, anxiety or schizophrenia may be grounds for medical discharge or retirement, usually depending on their severity and amenability to treatment.

› how-the-va-rates-mental-il... ›

As a veteran, do you know how the VA rates mental health conditions and which conditions qualify for disability benefits? Click here to learn more.
Do you suffer from a mental illness related to your service? You might be entitled to VA disability benefits. Give us a call for help: 401-331-6300.
Mental Disorders and Veterans Disability Benefits. What psych issues qualify in the eyes of a VA disability claims examiner? Military service veterans who are d...

What qualifies as a PSA? ›

A PSA (Public Service Announcement) is a short informational clip that is meant to raise the audience's awareness about an important issue. PSAs may include interviews, dramatizations, animations and many other types of video and audio content.

What is considered a PSA? ›

A public service announcement (PSA) is a message in the public interest disseminated by the media without charge to raise public awareness and change behavior.

Why would a PSA be ordered? ›

What's the advantage of a PSA test? Detecting certain types of prostate cancer early can be critical. Elevated PSA results may reveal prostate cancer that's likely to spread to other parts of your body (metastasize), or they may reveal a quick-growing cancer that's likely to cause other problems.

How long does a PSA test take? ›

A sample of your blood is taken and sent to a laboratory to be tested. The amount of PSA in your blood is measured in nanograms (a billionth of a gram) per millilitre of blood (ng/ml). You can eat and drink as normal before having a PSA test. It can take one to two weeks to get your test results.

What are the 4 types of PSA? ›

Types of PSA Test
  • Percent-free PSA. Two forms of PSA are present in the blood. ...
  • PSA velocity. This is a test that measures how fast the PSA level rises over time. ...
  • PSA density. ...
  • Age-specific PSA. ...
  • Further Reading.

Who pays for a PSA? ›

Medicare Part B pays for one prostate cancer screening test each year. You pay no out-of-pocket cost for a PSA test if your doctor accepts Medicare assignment, and the Part B deductible does not apply. Medicare Advantage plans also cover a yearly PSA test.

What does a PSA of 14 mean? ›

About 15% of men with a PSA below 4 will have prostate cancer if a biopsy is done. Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 (often called the “borderline range”) have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.

What is the highest a PSA can go? ›

Aging Affects PSA Levels

Even without any prostate problems, your PSA level can go up gradually as you age. "At age 40, a PSA of 2.5 is the normal limit," says John Milner, MD, a urologist in the Chicago area. "By age 60, the limit is up to 4.5; by age 70, a PSA of 6.5 could be considered normal."

What does a good PSA look like? ›

In general, a PSA level that is below 3.0 ng/mL is considered within the normal range. A PSA level that is above 3.0 ng/mL is considered suspicious. However, PSA levels can rise as you get older. For men over age 75, a PSA below 4.0 ng/mL is considered normal.

What medications can raise your PSA level? ›

Official answer
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
  • Cholesterol-lowering statins, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin)
  • High blood pressure drugs known as thiazide diuretics.
15 Mar 2022

What can cause a false high PSA reading? ›

What factors can falsely elevate your PSA level?
  • Increasing age.
  • Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that commonly develops as those assigned male at birth age and causes the prostate to grow in size.
  • Inflammation or infection of the prostate, like prostatitis or a urinary tract infection.
15 Oct 2021

What is the average PSA for a 70 year old? ›

For men aged 70 to 79, they suggested a normal serum PSA reference range of 0.0–6.5 ng/mL (0.0–6.5 μg/L).

Does coffee affect PSA test? ›

Men who avoided eating spicy foods, drinking alcohol or coffee, and riding a bicycle had a repeat PSA reading approximately 1.5 ng/mL lower than their first reading a median of 8 weeks earlier.

How can I lower my PSA quickly? ›

Tips for Naturally Lowering PSA Levels
  1. If you've had your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tested and your numbers were higher, you and your doctor may have discussed ways to lower it. ...
  2. Eat more tomatoes. ...
  3. Choose healthy protein sources. ...
  4. Take vitamin D. ...
  5. Drink green tea. ...
  6. Exercise. ...
  7. Reduce stress.

What is the cost of PSA test? ›



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