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Improving Mental Health Care for Veterans

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Representative Kaptur welcomed the announcement by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki that the VA will add approximately 1,600 mental health clinicians.

"The announcement comes at a most opportune time," said Congresswoman Kaptur, noting that a new VA clinic will open this fall on campus of the University of Toledo Medical Center.

At the new clinic, she said, the VA will provide mental health services to area veterans for the first time.

"This is a significant enhancement in the level of service, and it's especially important in light of reported high rates of mental health disorders among vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan," she said.

In an announcement in Washington, Secretary Shinseki said, "We must ensure that all veterans seeking mental health care have access to timely, responsive and high-quality care."

In the past three years, the VA has devoted more personnel and resources to mental health services to serve the growing number of veterans seeking mental health care. Since 2007, the department has responded to a 35 percent increase in the number of veterans seeking mental health services with a 41 percent increase in mental health staff.

The new hires--nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers--will augment the current workforce of 20,590 mental health staff nationwide.

VHA anticipates the majority of hires will be selected within approximately six months and the most "hard-to-fill" positions filled by the end of the second quarter of FY 2013.

Interested mental health care providers can find additional information about VA careers and apply for jobs online at For information about VA health care services, visit

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