Friday, September 9, 2011

Montana VA stresses suicide prevention without a full time psychiatrist?

Montana VA stresses suicide prevention, awareness
Posted: Sep 8, 2011 4:48 PM by Melissa Anderson (Helena)

This is Suicide Prevention Week, and the suicide rate among veterans is reported to be two times higher than the civilian population.

Registered nurse Kellie LaFave of the Montana VA in Helena explained, "Veterans are at greater risk because they're exposed to such extremes and where they do their service. They may be injured physically or emotionally. They may be suffering from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress syndrome. "

That's why the VA has stressed mental health as a key priority in its healthcare system.

The VA Montana system recently added the 24,000 square foot mental health facility that will house up to 24 veterans.

The PTSD program, which opened in July, is set up in six week outpatient sessions.

While the VA awaits hiring a full time psychiatrist, they are not taking inpatients at this time. However, veterans can still be referred.
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