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Does the V.A. Get It? Mental Health Crisis For Returning Soldiers

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 4/26/12

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The Department of Veterans Affairs says it plans to hire 1,900 psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, clinicians and clerical employees, a 10 percent increase in its mental health staff. That's welcome progress for a system that is struggling to meet the needs of veterans. But there are questions about whether it will be enough -- and whether the department is truly facing up to its problems. On Monday, the department's inspector general released a report showing that veterans are waiting far longer for mental health care than the department has been willing to admit. A new applicant for mental health services is supposed to receive an evaluation within two weeks, a standard the department says it meets more than 95 percent of the time. But the inspector general said that fewer than half of veterans received evaluations within 14 days. The rest waited an average of 50 days.

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