Government expands hiring of mental health workers

Friday, June 15, 2012 Healthcare

As thousands of service members return home from active duty, many will suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and need help from mental health professionals as a result. Thanks to the high volume of returning soldiers, some veteran hospitals have been unable to handle the influx.

To combat shortages, Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Eric Shinseki released a statement saying that 1,900 mental health workers would be added to the VA's total staff, which totals 20,590. Specifically, 1,600 clinicians and 300 support staff will be brought on board.

"As the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to anticipate the needs of returning veterans," VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement announcing the plan. "History shows 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."

Government Executive reports that since 2007, the VA has increased total staff by 41 percent and expanded its suicide prevention and primary care services.

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