To help meet the mental health needs of military veterans of every service era and their families, a group of organizations, including the American Nurses Association (ANA), are partnering to promote important services, including a “Veterans Crisis Line” and a series of online training courses for psychiatric nurses, as well as other primary care and mental health providers.
As part of the campaign, ANA is specifically collaborating with the
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on a national campaign asking
nurses around the nation to inform veterans and their families about the
crisis line. When veterans and their loved ones are in a crisis, they
can call (800) 273-8255 and press 1, chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net, or send a text message to 838255.
“In addition to receiving services at the VA, many veterans are
seeking care at primary care providers and community clinics,” said
Janet Jackson, project director, Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration Minority Fellowship Program at ANA. “So ANA is
working with the VA to make sure nurses are educated on how to better
treat the needs of veterans and their families.”
The crisis line is a confidential hotline, available around the clock
seven days a week that connects veterans, or their family members or
friends, in need with specially trained VA responders, many of whom are
veterans, according to the crisis line website.
Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more
than 500,000 calls and made more than 18,000 life-saving rescues. In
2009, the VA added the anonymous online chat that has since helped more
than 28,000 persons.
To learn more about providing care to veterans, go to www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/resourcelocator. For more information about the Veterans Crisis Line and downloadable resources, go to www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.
For more on the VA’s mental health resources, go to www.mentalhealth.va.gov.
In another initiative, the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts
General Hospital (MGH) Home Base Program, in partnership with the VA’s
National Center for PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), is providing a
free, online educational series of 14 one-hour sessions to help primary
care and mental health providers be better prepared to care for
veterans and their families.
The series, which awards one CME credit or continuing education
contact hour for each session, began Feb. 23. However, clinicians can
participate in any or all of the online sessions, which also are
available on demand after the live event.
Participants will learn how to better diagnose and treat PTSD and
traumatic brain injury (TBI) with traditional and complementary
evidence-based therapy; recognize and address emotional stress in
spouses, parents, and children of veterans with PTSD and TBI; and
support the needs of military families.
For more information and to participate in the series, go to www.mghcme.org/homefront.