Vet Centers of America Search by ZIP CODE

There are more than 300 Vet Centers across the United States and U.S. Territories whose primary function is to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life after combat.

Vet Centers help overwhelmed VA hospitals by providing Veterans with valuable services such as counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma, bereavement counseling, marriage and family counseling, and resources like VA benefits information and suicide prevention referrals.

To search by zip code for a Vet Center in your area click here

If you do not find a Vet Center near you, check out the Mobile Vet Centers.  There are 50 motorized vehicles – resembling super-sized recreational vehicles – that are driven to far-reaching rural areas as part of an “On the Road” outreach program

Professor says US Military Monitors Machines Better than Soldiers Mental Health

As the United States scratches their heads wondering what could have caused a 38 year old Army Staff Sergeant to allegedly massacre 16 Afghan men, women, and children on Sunday, one professor has an idea.

Dr. Bengt Arnetz, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., suggested that the current system used by the military to detect or recognize mental health issues is woefully inadequate.

“All the systems have never been evaluated,” said Arnetz, whose research focuses on the effects of stress on the psychological well being of police, first responders and soldiers. “I think that they’re very, very bad at monitoring people close to the breaking point. We don’t have good surveillance tools.”

To give an example, Arnetz compared the maintenance and monitoring of military machinery to the maintenance and monitoring of soldiers’ mental states. “If you look at the machinery, you check for wear and tear and you do repair work and tune it up on regular basis,” he said. “Where soldiers are concerned; we don’t have a systematic approach.”

If soldiers are expected to be some kind of low maintenance machine, it is no wonder that some soldiers may be hesitant to report unusual behavior on the part of their fellow troops.

“We have talked with police working in inner city Detroit, and they told me it’s very difficult to bring it up,” he said. “Sometimes when you bring it up… you see a behavior change, they either deny it or become quite aggressive. They don’t want to push it.”

Source: Soldier’s Alleged Kandahar Killing Spree: Were Warning Signs Missed?

Veterans Crisis Line: Recognizing the Signs of Suicide Risk

Updated: February 19th, 2012

If you are a Veteran having thoughts about hurting or killing yourself, and you are looking for ways to do so, then you need help fast.   Pick up the phone and call the Veterans Crisis Line today: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)

If you are not ready to talk to someone about suicidal feelings over the phone, or concerned that a family member/loved one might overhear your conversation, then try using the confidential “live chat” featured at VeteransCrisisLine.net

or try the new text feature added in February 2012*

Veterans who aren’t quite sure whether they are depressed, suicidal, or both can now do a “self-check” quiz that will be reviewed by an experienced counselor: www.vetselfcheck.org

  • Increased Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, alcoholism, weapons usage, and/or engagement in risky activities without thought.
  • Excessive Rage, anger, agitation, sleeplessness, anxiety, or mood swings
  • Withdrawal from family and friends. Feeling like there is no reason to live.

If you are a concerned family member or the friend of a Veteran in crisis, then please visit the website to find out how you can help.

A November 2011 report from the service’s Suicide Prevention Program says that 11 Marines attempted suicide in October, raising the year-to-date figure to 163 for 2011.

The news comes on the heels of another report from the influential Center for a New American Security in Washington that says U.S. service members took their own lives at a rate of one every 36 hours between 2005 and 2010.

The report also says that a veteran dies by suicide every 80 minutes, attributing that information to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Read related story: here

*Update February 19th, 2012: VA Adds Texting Feature to Crisis Line: Since its launch in 2007, the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 500,000 confidential calls, and trained responders have made more than 18,000 rescues. In 2009, an anonymous online chat service was added, which has already helped more than 28,000 people.
  • Now VA has added a third option for veterans, service members and family members who would rather text than call or go online: a free text messaging service at 838255.
  • The confidential Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, Press 1), online chat (www.VeteransCrisisLine.net), and
  • text messaging service (838255) are monitored 24/7 by trained crisis responders.
Learn more about VA’s overall crisis prevention program at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention.

Veterans Participating in Clinical Research Protected by VA Office of Research Oversight

Are you considering volunteering in a research study?

Information and recommendations from ORO

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ranks as one of the nation’s leaders in health research. Thousands of studies are conducted at VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes each year.  VA research has resulted in many health advancements.  For example, VA researchers:

Man Thinking as woman discusses something with him
  • developed artificial limbs that allow amputees more independence and a better quality of life
  • invented the cardiac pacemaker
  • performed the first successful liver transplantation
  • played a major role in the development of the CT (or CAT) scan to view the inside of the body
  • tested new drugs and treatments for diseases as AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis
  • developed the nicotine patch to help people stop smoking.

If you decide to participate in an approved VA research study you need to understand some of the basic requirements for good research.  Take the time to review the Basic Research Requirements  and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions  provided here and discuss them with people you trust. ORO hopes that this information will help you reach a knowledgeable and informed decision that will be in the best interest of both you the participant/Veteran and the VA.

Other VA Research Resources

VA Research Today
A magazine created to commemorate the 85th anniversary of VA Research

Reading this magazine will help you gain perspective on how health issues affect Veterans and what VA is doing to advance health research. 

Office of Research and Development

This website will give you information about VA’s various research programs and a state by state listing of research centers, clinical trials, and other Veteran services throughout the country.

Free Educational Materials for Veterans Volunteering in Research 

If you are considering volunteering in a VA research study, be sure to order this free information material designed to help you understand the benefits of being in a research study as well as any risks or side effects.  It is important that you know what questions you should ask before you agree to take part in a research study and how VA will protect your rights and welfare as a research subject.