No matter where you are or what you’re feeling, VA’s mental health professionals, support services, and proven therapies can help. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of mental health care and when to seek professional treatment. Then, take the next step toward improving your well-being by connecting with care.
VA is here to support you. With telehealth appointments, on-site visits, smartphone apps, and more, our mental health resources have been designed to reach Veterans and their supporters wherever they are.
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Although Veterans and their loved ones can usually recognize when to treat physical injuries, it can be harder to identify mental health issues. But, just like staying in shape physically, maintaining your mental health is essential to your overall well-being at every stage of life.
Challenges to mental health can affect your relationships, physical condition, concentration, eating, sleeping, and other important facets of daily life.
If you’ve just started experiencing symptoms — even if you aren’t even sure if anything is really wrong — reach out now. Getting support or treatment as soon as possible can stop your symptoms from getting worse.
And, even if you left the military decades ago, it’s never too late to get treatment or support for whatever is troubling you. Even Veterans who didn’t realize they were dealing with a mental health condition for many years have improved their lives with support.
It’s not always easy to ask for support, but it’s worth it. Learn how these Veterans used their VA benefits and found mental health service options that worked for them.
For these Veterans, mental health treatment helped them find their passion, happiness, and a brighter future. Hear Veterans describe what’s possible with treatment and support.
Treatment can make a difference in your health and well-being. Connecting with care has far-reaching benefits — support can help you strengthen your relationships, reignite a sense of purpose, enjoy a brighter outlook, and more. Discover how treatment helped other Veterans thrive after service.
After resuming civilian life, some Veterans have trouble redefining their goals and finding their footing. Listen as Veterans describe how treatment and support helped them rediscover their purpose.
The word “therapy,” like “treatment,” refers to counseling, medication, or any number of approaches to mental health care. Many treatments can produce positive and meaningful changes in symptoms and quality of life after just a brief amount of time.
Proper mental health care can help you understand why things feel out of sorts and give you a new perspective. Therapy can also help improve responses to emotional triggers, stressful situations, and other challenges in your life.
For almost every mental health condition, there are a number of effective treatments that can help you reduce or cope with symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life. Work closely with your VA provider or mental health professional to try different types of care until you find the treatment — or combination of treatments and support — that’s best for your unique situation.
The most frequently used therapies at VA include counseling and medication:
Talk therapy with a professional counselor may be one-on-one, with your family, or with another group, or it may be a combination of options. By working through your experiences, emotions, and reactions, you can learn new ways of thinking about them. You also learn how to practice positive behaviors and take active steps to move beyond your symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one type of counseling that research shows is effective for a number of different mental health challenges.
Veterans dealing with PTSD or anxiety can improve with prolonged exposure therapy.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy brings relief to many Veterans diagnosed with PTSD or similar conditions. EMDR helps Veterans process upsetting memories, thoughts, and feelings related to trauma.
Art therapy allows Veterans another way to express themselves. For many, the act of creative self-expression helps increase their self-esteem and bring a renewed sense of purpose.
Group therapy can offer a supportive environment for Veterans to tackle challenges together, fostering a sense of camaraderie that they may miss after military service.
Finding the right therapist is an important part of the treatment process. Some Veterans feel their therapist is a good fit right away, but others try more than one before they find a comfortable match.
Often used in conjunction with counseling, medications work in different ways to manage the chemicals in your brain that may affect the way you feel. Not every medication is effective for everyone, so work with your VA provider to find the best medication therapy for your unique situation.
Often used to support other treatments, self-help programs may include participating in 12-step meetings, using smartphone apps and other self-driven tools, completing workbooks, or doing other activities suggested by your treatment provider.
Every day, Veterans from all military service branches and eras connect with proven resources and effective treatments through VA. Whether this is your first time considering mental health support or you’ve had treatment before, let VA help make sure your next step is the right step for you.
Read VA's latest coronavirus information. If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please call before you visit your local medical center or clinic. If you have an appointment, consider making it a telehealth appointment.
There’s a whole community of support ready to help with whatever you’re going through. Use this tool to find resources near you, then contact your nearest VA medical center or Vet Center to talk about your needs.
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or wish you were dead, you should talk to someone right away. Your family and friends may already know that you’re having a tough time. You may want to turn to them and let them know what you’re feeling and thinking.
To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, Dial 988 and Press 1, use the Veterans Crisis Line online chat, or send a text message to the Veterans Crisis Line at 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.