Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
Emotional Support Services for Veterans and Families
As a Veteran with MS, you may find you need extra emotional support or mental health services for your well-being. You may want to see a social worker or other mental health professional.
If you would like to connect with others who are living with MS from the comfort of your home, we have collaborated with "Can Do MS" for monthly patient webinars. These webinars provide education and support in a supportive online group atmosphere.
How do I know if I need a Social Worker or other mental health professional?
You will find social workers and other mental health professionals (psychology, psychiatry) in VA Medical Centers, VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and Vet Centers. Talk to your MS Care Team about any of the symptoms listed below or if you aren't sure what you need but things just don't feel right. You may be referred to a social worker or other mental health professional who understand multiple sclerosis and how it can affect your emotions and mental health.
If you are feeling stress because of your health or your medical condition interferes with your daily activities.
- If you have mood changes. (Understanding MS Mood Changes)
If you are feeling hopeless, sad, depressed, or anxious.
If you are having marriage or family problems.
If you have problems with drinking or drug use.
If you feel that someone is taking advantage of you, abusing you, or if you feel mistreated in a relationship.
- If you have a co-occuring condition like post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other mental health diagnosis.
- If you are feeling suicidal. For immediate help 24/7, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, press 1 or call 911.
- If you really aren’t sure what you need, but things just don’t feel right.
A Social Worker can provide help you assess your emotional needs and living situation. They can help you get through a crisis, advocate for your VA care, provide education and counseling, refer you to resources, and much more. View the print-friendly handout: What VA Social Workers Do/How Social Workers Help Veterans.
Having MS can increase emotional and other mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and stress. Your MS Care Team may refer you to social worker, psychologist, or VA mental health services for extra help.
A psychologist may also help you with MS-related cognitive impairment like memory, problem-solving, or multi-tasking. Isues like these can also affect your emotional well-being. Your MS Care Team can refer you to a psychologist for cognitive testing and counseling to help with these issues. Understanding how MS can affect your cognition can also help your mental well-being.
- Caregiver support is available for your spouse/loved one, or family member who helps take care of you. Visit the VA Caregiver Support website or call the Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274.
Respite Care can help you and your caregiver with a break or to go on vacation without worrying about who will be caring for you. All Veterans and caregivers are eligible for 30 days of respite care per year.
Long-Term Care Needs
Veteran and Community Organizations Providing MS Support and Services
Veteran Support Organizations
- Paralyzed Veterans of America: Helps Veterans find support and assists with VA benefits and claims. Contact their Healthcare Helpline at 800-232-1782.
- Disabled American Veterans: Provides free transportation to VA medical facilities for injured and ill Veterans as well as a variety of resources. Contact the DAV Hospital Service Coordinator in your VA.
- State Veterans Affairs Offices: Each state offers a variety of services and support to Veterans.
- National MS Society: Their MS Navigators (800-344-4867) can help identify solutiona and provide access to the resouces you are looking for while their Peer Connections program (866-673-7436) lets you connect with others living with MS.
- MSWorld: Provides online support and information where Wellness is a State of Mind!
- Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: Their Helpline and Chat service (800-532-7667, ext. 154) provides access to experienced specialists who have a social services or counseling background.
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation: Provides grants and programs to help with MS needs, including emergency assistance, cooling program, computer and assistive technology programs, health and wellness grants, homecare grants, and other health care needs.
Spinal Cord Injury and Disease
- United Spinal Association: Connect with a counselor who can provide information and resources at 800-962-9629.
Other Organizations Serving Veterans and their Families Needing Emotional Support
- Give An Hour: Provides free mental health services to Veterans, service members, and families affected by their time of service.
Updated: May 2017