Veterans Health

How Telemental Health Is Helping Underserved Veterans,
Reducing Hospitalizations For Mental Illness

Last year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans to hire an additional 1,600 mental health professionals in an effort to provide better care to veterans waiting too long for mental health services. The announcement came just days before the VA’s own inspector general issued a sharply critical report on the department’s record of delivering timely mental health evaluations and treatment. Click here to read the Report.

But one VA program is achieving remarkable success. According to a 2012 study, the program is making mental health services so accessible and patient outcomes so successful that hospitalization rates among participating veterans dropped by 25 percent.

I interviewed the doctor who runs the VA’s Telemental Health Program, which uses video conferencing technology to connect patients to mental health professionals for assessments and care.  I’m putting her on screen, because that’s what she and her colleagues do for tens of thousands of veterans each year, delivering high-level care in even the most hard-to-reach places.  Her award-winning work may lead veterans everywhere to a better, healthier future.