TeleMental Health redefines PTSD treatment for Veterans

Washington, D.C., July 5, 2024 — The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) TeleMental Health program has transformed how Veterans receive treatment for PTSD and other mental health challenges by addressing potential barriers head-on. In 2023, 54% of VA outpatient mental health services were provided virtually, overcoming traditional obstacles like transportation issues, stigma, and privacy concerns, as well as the challenges of balancing work, education, and family responsibilities.

“TeleMental Health has been a game changer,” said Dr. Leslie Morland, clinical psychologist at VA’s National Center for PTSD. “It’s completely changed the landscape of how we provide mental health care.”

For Veterans in rural areas or those who live far from a VA facility, attending in-person therapy sessions regularly can be difficult. TeleMental Health eliminates these barriers by allowing Veterans to receive care through virtual appointments. Dr. Morland emphasized that removing barriers increases the likelihood that Veterans will access and remain engaged with their PTSD treatment.

Veterans worried about privacy and the stigma associated with mental health treatment can connect with their therapists from the security of their homes. The VA is also exploring alternative therapy models to accommodate Veterans’ schedules. For instance, shorter, more frequent virtual sessions have been introduced to replace the traditional 50-minute, once-a-week model. This approach helps Veterans manage their commitments to work, education, and family while receiving effective treatment.

“Some Veterans find this approach more manageable,” Dr. Morland noted. “They can commit to a few weeks of treatment instead of 12, allowing them to stay engaged in their personal and professional lives.”

VA’s TeleMental Health services offer a flexible and confidential treatment option. Veterans can use platforms like VA Video Connect to speak with a therapist from their parked car during a lunch break or participate in an after-hours session from home. These services help Veterans address PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges, guiding them towards a healthier future.

For more information about TeleMental Health and PTSD treatment, Veterans are encouraged to talk to their VA care team or visit the VA Telehealth Services page.

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