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In April 2012, 90.5 WESA worked with media partners to bring you an ongoing series of stories about veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan coming back to their families, friends and jobs in Pennsylvania.

VA To Hire More Mental Health Workers

Monday, June 18, 2012
In the next few months, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare system will be hiring approximately 42 new mental healthcare workers.

The VA will be bringing on clinicians and support staff to assist the ever-growing number of veterans who seek and require mental health help.

Jeffrey Peters is the Associate Chief of Staff for Behavioral Health at VA Pittsburgh’s Healthcare System. He said more veterans seek mental health care not because there is a higher incidence or prevalence than in years past, but because the stigma surrounding such care has decreased. He said the providers they seek have to have a better understanding of the care veterans require.

“Oftentimes in someone’s life, the time they have spent in the service is a very important part of their identity. It could be a source of pride, it could have been a time of terrible, difficult things, but if you don’t have an appreciation for that life experience then I think you’re less likely to be useful as a mental health provider in VA,” he said.

VA Pittsburgh already has 240 clinicians providing behavioral health services.

This is part of a national effort to bulk up mental health services for veterans. Approximately 1,900 new workers will be hired nationwide.

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