VA mental health professionals work to prevent veteran suicide


Mental health is a complex issue. Although it has received increased attention in recent years, some topics, such as suicide, can be difficult to tackle, especially for veterans. As we celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day and National Suicide Prevention Week as a whole, we want to stress that here at VA, suicide prevention for all Veterans is a top priority. To help these veterans, we have a dedicated team of mental health professionals working on the front lines of mental health care.


Our psychiatrists provide leadership in clinical care in all mental health facilities and practice state-of-the-art psychiatry. VA psychiatrists are often involved in teaching and research, which gives our team a better understanding of issues like suicide.

At least 10% of all practicing psychiatrists nationwide work here at VA and enjoy a number of benefits including a doctor-to-patient ratio that ensures veterans get the most out of their mental health care provider. at each visit.


VA psychologists take on leadership roles; work in management, research, academia and training; and even impact system-wide policies. They also have the opportunity to practice in several specialist areas, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, and serious mental illness.

“They say the richest people are the ones with meaningful lives, and I just can’t imagine a job that pays more than this,” said Joel Schmidt, VA psychologist for nearly 3 decades. .

Social workers

Our social workers provide direct clinical services and coordinate programs of special interest, while working with the interdisciplinary care team to provide care in the best interest of the patient.

“We are often consultants to other disciplines on what has an impact on people’s well-being and their experiences – such as their marriage, their past, their childhood, their current family, their work, and so on. Social justice is really what drives us; it helps the whole team run because it signals blind spots, ”said Elizabeth Kleeman, registered clinical social worker overseeing the suicide prevention team at Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center.

Psychiatric nurses

VA’s field of psychiatric nursing encompasses registered nurses and advanced practice nurses, as well as nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. A national leader in the treatment of trauma, we also empower psychiatric nurses to work in specialized areas of practice.

“The more I learned about VA hospitals and the men and women who sought health care in VA hospitals, the more I was humbled by these amazing people,” said Jessica Crabtree, registered nurse in a psychiatry unit. for hospitalized patients VA. “I felt the decision to do whatever I can to improve the lives of these amazing men and women was not a choice.”

Working at VA

Our team is always ready and able to help a veteran or their loved ones with mental health issues. Together we can make a difference and let all Veterans know that they are not alone.

REMARK: The positions listed in this article were open at the time of publication. All currently available positions are listed on

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