Veteran mental health appointments online or by phone rise sharply during coronavirus

Telehealth
Photo credit U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marquis Whitehead
By Connecting Vets

Thousands of veterans are now getting their mental health care digitally or over the phone, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The coronavirus pandemic has sent much non-emergency healthcare online, and VA data shows a dramatic jump in mental healthcare appointments online or by phone in March. 

Mental health providers in March provided 34,000 appointments with veterans using VA Video Connect, up 70 percent from February. 

Telehealth group therapy conducted more than 2,700 meetings in March, up more than 200 percent from February. 

Mental healthcare delivered by phone skyrocketed 280 percent in March, from 40,000 February appointments to more than 154,000 in March. 

Vet Centers nationwide held 47,000 virtual mental health appointments in March, up 200 percent from the month prior. 

VA said mental healthcare is especially critical given the stresses brought on by the pandemic. 

“VA is open for business and we continue to provide same-day mental health services and mental health screening for veterans at-risk who require attention at any of our facilities,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. “There is no doubt VA’s early embrace of new technology is aiding veterans and I applaud VA healthcare workers and veteran patients for embracing it.”

For more information on scheduling a telehealth appointment, click here

To reach your local VA staff by phone, click here

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If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (select option 1 for a VA staff member). Veterans, service members or their families also can text 838255 or go to veteranscrisisline.net.

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Reach Abbie Bennett: abbie@connectingvets.com or @AbbieRBennett.
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