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VA Mental Health Services: A Recovery-Oriented System of Care

VA wants to help support the recovery of every Veteran with a mental illness. Recovery is the guiding principle for the VA's mental health services. Recovery-oriented care is led by you. This means that you are an active partner for your treatment planning and recovery. There are 4 main areas that are vital to a life in recovery:

  • Health. This means managing your health problems. It means living in a healthy way for both body and spirit.

  • Home. This means having a stable and safe place to live.

  • Purpose. This means having meaningful daily activities. They may include a job, school, or creative interests. And it means you have the independence, income, and resources to be part of society.

  • Community. This means having relationships and social networks that give you support, friendship, love, and hope. 

VA is committed to supporting you in your recovery. They provide a wide range of services. The goal of the services is to promote:

  • Hope

  • Responsibility

  • Respect

  • Partnership  

VA's recovery-oriented services are a personal experience. In this system of mental health care:

  • You have the right to guide your own treatment. This includes making an action plan for times of serious illness.

  • You get hope and support for your recovery throughout the process. Services are joined across all mental health programs.

  • You are respected and are not defined by your illness. The goal is to help you get past any stigma or negative beliefs about mental illness.

  • Your culture, ethnicity, and personal beliefs help guide the recovery process.

  • You can get your family and other loved ones involved. This is encouraged and supported. You can decide when and where this works for you.

  • Family services may include family therapy, marriage counseling, and grief counseling.

  • Peer support services are run by people who are also recovering from a mental illness. They are trained to work with Veterans. They are members of the mental health treatment team. They are supervised by clinical staff.

  • Meaningful work and activity is encouraged and supported. A core value of VA work programs is that all people can work at some level.

What resources are available?

There is a core group of staff and programs who lead services at every VA medical center. Mental health providers work together. They have open communication with you and your family. These staff and resources include:

  • Local Recovery Coordinators. They talk with and teach you, your family, the medical center leaders, VA staff, and community partners. They discuss the recovery principles, practices, and services across the local VA mental health system.

  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Centers. These centers help Veterans with serious mental illness get their lives back. They give you hope, support your strengths, teach you skills, and help you ease back into your community.

  • Peer Support Services. These are people who are also in recovery from a mental illness. They are trained to serve as part of the mental healthcare team. Their work is an important part of a recovery-oriented system. They support you in your recovery.

  • Evidence Based Psychotherapies (EBP). Psychotherapy is a proven treatment for many kinds of mental illness. VA uses many types of EBPs. For example, Social Skills Training helps with daily living, communication, solving problems, learning coping skills, and reaching goals.

  • Veterans Mental Health Councils (VMHC). Veterans on a VMHC work with the local VA to improve their services. VMHCs are one way you can give feedback to your local facility. You can give your input about the mental health programs.

To learn more

If you are enrolled in VA health care, talk with your VA mental health or health care provider for more information.

Other Veterans can:

Find a complete list of VA health care facilities at Call the hotline at 800-827-1000.


Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/1/2019
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