Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
PVAMC to Hire Additional Mental Health Professionals
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed an aggressive national mental health hiring initiative to improve recruitment and hiring, marketing, education and training programs, and retention efforts for mental health professionals.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki noted that “as the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans.”
To speed the national hiring process, the VA developed the Mental Health Hiring Initiative, a multi-faceted, sustained national marketing and outreach campaign that includes targeted recruitment of mental health providers willing to take positions throughout the country, including in rural and highly rural markets, to serve all VA medical centers and community clinics.
The VA has an existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Currently, 162 mental health clinicians, social workers, and support staff work locally supporting Veterans in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, offering individualized care, readjustment counseling, and immediate crisis service. “The Providence VA Medical Center,” says Director Vincent Ng, “will soon hire five more providers to supplement our highly dedicated and Veteran-centered team of mental health providers.”
The Providence VA Medical Center offers an extraordinarily wide range of services to help identify and treat mental illness and substance abuse. Services include:
• Evidence-based subspecialty and general mental health outpatient treatment at the Medical Center and in all three community-based outpatient clinics; mental health providers are also embedded within Primary Care as part of each Veteran’s care team
• A nationally-recognized Returning Veterans Clinic in which returning Veterans are screened for post-deployment readjustment issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), sexual assault, and suicide risk, and offered services accordingly
• Urgent and emergent mental health services in our Interim Care Clinic and Emergency Department
• Inpatient mental health treatment in our newly-renovated 18-bed inpatient mental health ward
• A Mental Health Intensive Case Management program to help support Veterans with serious mental illnesses
• Care for Veterans with substance use disorders
• An aggressive homeless outreach program to help homeless and justice-involved Veterans “break contact” with the streets; wrap-around services are available as well as the HUD-VASH vouchers and grant per diem beds in the community
• Three Vet Centers within Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts that offer readjustment and family counseling
• A Veterans Recovery Resource Center, offering readjustment counseling and job support to eligible Veterans
• A growing Telehealth program which has begun offering tele-mental health with our CBOCs with additional capability expected in the future
• An active culture of continuous improvement to improve access to mental health care and services
“Mental health services must be closely aligned with Veterans’ needs and fully integrated with health care facility operations,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “Improving access to mental health services will help support the current and future Veterans who depend on VA for these vital services.”
For more information about mental health services and / or enrollment at the Providence VA Medical Center, please visit www.providence.va.gov. Immediate help is available at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.