Burden of Mental Illness Among Veterans Seen in VA Primary Care and the Positive Effects of Recent VHA Initiatives

In addition to the behavioral health collaborative care model, fellow panelists Keith Grant, Veterans Coordinator, Nassau County Department of Human Services, and the author explored some of the stressors facing our service members today both on and off the battlefield, as well as the comorbidity of mental illnesses typically seen in veterans seeking treatment at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) hospitals. The VA’s Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (“PC-MHI”) initiative was discussed as an improved system of diagnosing and treating mental health issues among veterans.1 All of the focus on mental health issues provided a foundation for discussion of a case study that featured a veteran who received an Other than Honorable (“OTH”) discharge, the missed opportunities for intervention by his command while he was serving and at the time of his separation, and the negative impact that such a discharge can have on a veteran’s life after separation. Mr. Grant and the author explored the case study from the perspective of the service member and a psychologist and health services researcher, respectively.

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