Mental health care
The CAVHS Mental Health Service mission is to provide a comprehensive range of exemplary mental health services to Veterans and their families in a timely manner. We put an emphasis on a continuum of care, patient and stakeholder satisfaction, and commitment to the care and improvement of human life.
Care we provide at VA Central Arkansas
The Behavioral Health Department offers both inpatient and outpatient services, including telehealth appointments. We provide consultation, evaluation, and treatment for a variety of issues impacting emotional well-being. Our services include:
- Services for Veterans who are homeless
- Treatment for addictive disorders, including residential rehabilitation treatment programs
- Transition and care management for returning Veterans (OIF/OEF/OND)
Mental health services are confidential. We will not talk to anyone about information you share unless you give written consent. Under federal law, a few exceptions to this rule exist. If you have questions, please ask your mental health provider.
Inpatient mental health programs and services
- Acute inpatient mental health
- Dual diagnosis
- Serious mental health and Geri-psychiatric
Intensive case management (MHICM)
MHICM is a voluntary program providing intensive case management services for Veterans with serious and persistent mental illnesses to help them live a meaningful life in the community.
Primary care mental health integration
The Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) program provides same day access for behavioral health concerns in the primary care setting using co-located mental health professionals who collaborate with the Primary Care Physicians and teams. Services include treatment of problems such as mild to moderate anxiety, depression, adjustment issues, sleep problems, grief, or general coping with health problems and life changes. Psychiatrists may prescribe medications and therapy may be provided by psychologists or social workers. Patients who need more intensive mental health treatment may be referred to other MH services at CAVHS, including Substance Abuse Treatment, PTSD, or MHC.
The PTSD program educates Veterans on realistic life skills that help them live successfully with PTSD symptoms using a "here-and-now" approach.
Military Sexual Trauma (MST) recovery
The Military Sexual Trauma recovery program offers specialized services to survivors of military sexual trauma (MST), as well as survivors of non-military sexual trauma. Program participants undergo a sexual trauma assessment during which time appropriate treatment options are discussed. Veterans may elect to participate in MST-specific treatment options or request services available through other programs at CAVHS. MSTRP staff are members of the medical center's MST Committee, promoting MST awareness and best clinical practices related to MST. It is common for MSTRP providers to consult with other practitioners about the care of Veterans in the program.
- Sexual trauma assessment intakes
- MST psycho-educational groups (16 week Recovery Group)
- Cognitive Processing Therapy for MST groups
- Prolonged Exposure for MST (individual)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Group (depending)
- Overcoming Trauma through Yoga
- MST aftercare groups
Learn more about VA MST programs, and to learn your options.
Residential rehabilitation programs
- Domiciliary care for homeless Veterans
- Residential treatment for substance use disorder (SUD)
- Residential treatment for PTSD
- Veteran Industries Therapeutic Residence (VITR)
Substance use disorder programs
Our substance use disorder (SUD) programs provides resources, support and education to help Veterans lead a healthy, drug- and alcohol-free life.
VOC rehab takes several approaches to help Veterans gain competitive community employment.
The Neuropsychology Service provides comprehensive assessment services for patients in whom impairments of cognitive, neuropsychiatric, or developmental functioning are evident or suspected. Our services include outpatient evaluation and inpatient consultation services. We also provide specialty Clinic services:
- Focuses on evaluations in mid and late life;
- Referral questions focus on degenerative and reversible causes of cognitive problems in this age range;
- Specializes in co-morbid medical and emotional conditions that may also contribute to cognitive problems in the aging.
General Assessment Clinic
Focuses on evaluations, where a mood disorder may be interfering with functional independence, including difficulty meeting educational and vocational goals.
Neuropsychological assessment involves a systematic evaluation of higher cognitive abilities such as intelligence, academic skill, memory, language, attention, problem solving ability, executive abilities and visual motor skills, as well as sensory motor and personality/emotional functioning.
The Neuropsychology Service and Clinics can provide assessment and treatment recommendations for a wide range of conditions that may affect behavior, including:
- Cognitive and emotional effects of various neurological conditions, including, for example, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), leukemia, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, and chromosomal disorders.
- Traumatic brain injury and electrical shock injury.
- Cognitive decline in elderly patients.
- Changes in thinking abilities associated with various medical conditions, including: metabolic disorders, HIV infection, cardiac complications, liver disease, toxic exposures, and autoimmune disorders (e.g., Lupus) among others.
- Attention-deficit disorders.
- Learning disorders.
- Psychiatric and emotional disorders and symptoms.
Neurosychological assessment contributes to clinical decisions about:
- Diagnosis and prognosis.
- Rehabilitation planning.
- Educational planning (including IEP, 504 plans, and ADA evaluations)
- developmental level.
- Ability to return to work or school.
- Ability to function independently.
- Tracking of changes in cognitive abilities over time to determine response to medicaiton or disease progression.
Criteria for admission:
- Referral from healthcare provider.
The PRRC is an outpatient transitional learning center that provides a person- centered and empowering environment to support the recovery of Veterans living with serious mental illness (SMI). Recovery is a nonlinear process that involves enhancements in Living, Learning, Working and Socializing that leads to meaningful self-determined community roles (e.g., student, worker, volunteer, etc.). As Veterans progress in their recovery, they develop skills and resources that enhance their success in the community and decrease the need for psychiatric hospitalization.
PRRC staff work in partnership with Veterans to help them identify and achieve recovery goals. While helping Veterans develop or enhance skills and resources, staff instill hope and participate in activities that decrease the stigma individuals with SMI often face in society. The PRRC educates Veterans, family members, and community agencies about recovery and ways to support Veterans in their recovery from SMI.
Why Family Services?
- The VA is working to provide more family services for Veterans - In 2008, the VA began an emphasis on making sure that Veterans receiving healthcare from the Veterans healthcare system are offered family services and involvement. CAVHS has several ways to work with a Veteran and his family, and we want you to know about those services and how to contact them for more information or to sign up.
- Involving families helps Veterans to have better outcomes in healthcare - Involving family members, friends and other persons who support the Veteran in their journey toward a meaningful life regardless of mental health diagnosis or disability is a very powerful way to improve outcome. Scientific research has repeatedly shown that persons with strong social support - whether friends, family or others - tend to do much better in dealing with physical and mental illness that those without this support. The evidence is increasingly clear that persons with mental health challenges do better when they involve their family or other support persons in their care.
Who qualifies as my family?
- The VA considers "family" to be anyone to whom the Veteran feels close and who supports them in their recovery journey, whether kin or not.
Finding Family Services:
- It can be confusing for Veterans and their families and support persons to find the most appropriate program or community resource that helps not only the individual Veteran but also addresses various family issues. Several current CAVHS programs work with the Veteran’s family in addition to working with the Veteran. Wherever you receive services, be sure to ask them about how they work with families.
Mental health recovery
What does recovery mean for persons with diagnosed mental or substance use disorders?
- Most of us have heard about recovery from addition to substances, because this term has been used for years in 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. However, in recent years, the term “recovery” has also been applied to persons with diagnosable mental illnesses. Basically, it refers to the idea that any person, regardless of their illness or symptoms, has the right to have choices and to participate in their treatment, so that they can work toward life goals that are meaningful to them.
- A key idea is that each person is responsible for their own recovery. While providers may offer expertise and valuable treatment, family and friends may offer important social support, and the community and government may assist with needed resources, it is always up to each person to take all those ingredients and use them to manage one’s life in ways that are most in tune with their individual values. Some persons may need more support than others, but all deserve the chance to take charge of their recovery journey at whatever level their strengths and motivation allow.
- Recovery also means that all persons, regardless of how severe their symptoms might be, should have hope of getting better or at least learning to manage their problems enough to be able to meet personal goals. To do so may well require not only treatment, but support from family or friends, and many other things that can improve their chances of “recovery.”
- Importantly, recovery in this sense is an ongoing process of moving on with one’s life, and it doesn’t necessarily mean a cure or that the person will be rid of all symptoms. Instead, the person will be able to learn ways of managing their illness and moving on with their life without waiting for a cure.
What is CAVHS doing to promote recovery for Veterans?
CAVHS’s Mental Health Service is committed to the transformation of our entire system so that hope, collaboration, respect and a holistic view of health and well-being becomes the guiding vision for all programs and staff. Veterans who use CAVHS and MHS services should be able to work with friendly, respectful, professional and collaborative persons who are committed to helping Veterans meet goals they have set for themselves in their recovery journey.