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Wellness Wednesday: Veterans' Health Care by the Numbers

President Obama and the First Lady are committed to enhancing the well-being and psychological health of our military service members, families, and veterans.

Today begins a series of blogs on Wellness Issues for Military Families, Veterans, and Service members. Check back for Wellness Wednesday blogs, where we will cover topics relevant to the holistic health of the military and veteran communities.

Joining Forces, along with the President, the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Health and Human Services, is committed to supporting the wellness of military service members, veterans, and their families.  Today, we’ll summarize the actions of the Administration that enable Veterans to pursue the American Dream, especially as it relates to health and wellness.

Improving Mental Health Care

The President has allocated funds to the VA to provide high-quality mental health services for veterans.

$7 billion: dollars of the FY2014 Budget committed to continue expanding and transforming mental health services for veterans.

1669: mental health professionals hired by VA to increase capacity to provide timely mental health services for veterans.

800: peer-to-peer specialists the VA will hire by December 31, 2013

Working to Prevent Suicide

The VA, in coordination with DoD, has increased the capacity of its Veterans Crisis Line by 50 percent and trained all new staff members to ensure that veterans in crisis can readily reach help.

30,000: callers rescued from suicides in progress by Veterans Crisis Line providers.

Collaborating with Communities

The VA has directed its medical centers nationwide to organize Mental Health Summits with community partners, including local government officials, community-based organizations, and Veteran Service Organizations.

152: Community Mental Health Summits held to enhance the mental health and well-being of Veterans and their family members through collaboration between VA and community based groups.

Educating the Private Sector

With the help of the First Lady and Dr. Biden, medical schools, nursing organizations, and nursing schools have committed to ensure that health practitioners are prepared to meet the health needs of veterans and their families.

135: medical schools committed to exchanging leading research on PTSD and TBI and training the future physicians on veteran’s health issues.

150: Nursing Organizations and 650: nursing schools committed to educating the nation’s 3 million nurses on PTSD and TBI.

Together, we are committed to enhancing the well-being and psychological health of our military service members, families, and veterans. As we work towards this goal, we want everyone to know that asking for help is not a sign a weakness and they do not have to face these challenges alone. As Americans, it is our duty to take care of those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Rory Brosius is the Deputy Director of Joining Forces