In this Issue: Improving Care of Mental Health Conditions
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While VA works to reach Veterans who need mental healthcare (more than 1.6 million Veterans received specialized mental healthcare in FY2015),4 HSR&D has prioritized mental healthcare research through a number of distinct activities. One is the CREATE (Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformation and Excellence) initiative, which funded 10 programs – each consisting of 3-5 collaborative projects developed with clinical partners. Two CREATEs addressed issues important to mental health. The primary goal of Evidence-Based Therapies for PTSD CREATE is to improve Veterans’ access to and engagement in evidence-based treatments for PTSD. The Improving Rural Veterans’ Access/Engagement in Evidence-based Mental Healthcare CREATE aims to improve treatment engagement for Veterans living in rural settings who access mental health services at VA community-based outpatient clinics.
Several of HSR&D’s Centers of Innovation also have a particular focus in mental health. HSR&D’s Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research (CeMHOR) focuses on improving access and engagement in general and specialty mental healthcare for Veterans. Investigators at CeMHOR are leading one of the largest national studies involving REACH-VET (Recovery, Engagement, and Coordination for Health-Veterans Enhanced Treatment), which combines a state-of-the-art suicide risk prediction model with a care coordination implementation program designed for Veterans at the highest risk of suicide. [A new VA video on suicide highlights REACH-VET.]
VA HSR&D’s Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) also supports numerous projects targeting mental healthcare. For example, QUERI for Team-Based Behavioral Health is working to implement a telemental health network in rurally located community-based outpatient clinics, and the Virtual Specialty Care QUERI Program is comparing implementation strategies through telemedicine outreach for PTSD to increase Veterans’ access to PTSD services.