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Bay Pines To Get 45 New Mental Health Clinicians, 9 New Support Personnel

Posted Jun 13, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Jun 13, 2012 at 04:13 PM

Yesterday, I wrote that the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa will benefit from a new VA program to increase the number of mental health clinicians and support personnel nationwide.

The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Pinellas County will also benefit.

VA officials estimate that 45 clinicians and nine support personnel will be hired to support mental health operations at Bay Pines.  Funding has now been distributed to the Bay Pines VAHCS and recruitment is underway.

According to a media release:

VA has an existing workforce of 20,696 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Currently, the Bay Pines VA employs about 210 mental health clinicians and support staff across the healthcare system, which includes the main medical center campus located in Bay Pines, Fla. and satellite outpatient clinics in Bradenton, Fort Myers, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring.

With each additional mental health care provider, a facility could potentially reach hundreds more Veterans battling mental illness. New providers will join a team that is already actively treating Veterans through individualized care, readjustment counseling, and immediate crisis services. Additional staff members also afford opportunities to look long-term and expand into cutting edge Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) research and to explore alternative therapies.

Secretary Shinseki noted that “as the tide of war recedes, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans.”