Fifty-nine clinicians and 12 support personnel will be hired to support mental health operations in the VA’s Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network, which encompasses VA facilities in North Carolina, Virginia and southeastern West Virginia, the release said.
“As the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning veterans,” Shinseki said in the release. “History shows that the costs of war will continue to grow for a decade or more after the operational missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended. As more veterans return home, we must ensure that all Veterans have access to quality mental health care.” As part of its ongoing comprehensive review of mental health operations, the VA considered a number of factors to determine staffing levels, including:
–Regional veteran population.
–Regional mental health needs of veterans.
–Range of mental health services provided in the region.
Nationwide, the VA has an existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Currently, 1,210 mental health clinicians and support staff work locally to support the region’s veterans, the release says.
The Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network is one of 21 networks to begin recruitment immediately. Last year, the VA provided specialty mental health services to 1.3 million veterans, according to the release. Since 2009, the VA has increased the mental health care budget by 39 percent.
In the past five years, the VA has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of veterans receiving mental health services, and a 41 percent increase in mental health staff, the release says.
The VA anticipates the majority of mental health clinicians and support staff will be hired locally within approximately six months, and the most hard-to-fill positions filled by the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2013.
Interested mental health care providers can find additional information about VA careers online at www.va.careers.va.gov. Open positions will be announced online at USA Jobs, www.usajobs.gov.