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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – The Department of Veterans Affairs has hired 1,600 mental health providers.
Marcena Gunter with the VA St. Louis Health Care Systems says 9 mental health clinicians will be hired locally and one support personnel.
On top of the existing staff of 254 mental health clinicians, the new hires will provide individual care, adjustment counseling and crisis services.
“We’re also looking to expand long-term care and doing things in post traumatic stress disorder and doing research there.” She says. “They plan to do more outreach, work with vets families and do what’s called telehealth. You can be in your home community and interact with a VA provider here in St. Louis, you’ll be sitting at one screen, they’ll be sitting at another and you can see each other.”
Gunter says the St Louis VA system is fortunate in that veterans don’t have to wait for help. A new mental health- PTSD facility opened at Jefferson Barracks last year.
The VA has over 20,000 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologist and social workers.
VA Secreatary Eric Shinseki noted that, “as the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans.”