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VA mental health services

Find out how to access VA mental health services for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological effects of military sexual trauma (MST), depression, grief, anxiety, and other needs. You can use some services even if you’re not enrolled in VA health care.

How do I talk to someone right now?

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with our caring, qualified Veterans Crisis Line responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves. This service is private, free, and available 24/7.

To connect with a Veterans Crisis Line responder anytime day or night:

You can also:

  • Call 911.
  • Go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Go directly to your nearest VA medical center. It doesn’t matter what your discharge status is or if you’re enrolled in VA health care.
    Find your nearest VA medical center

Get connected with mental health care—no matter your discharge status, service history, or eligibility for VA health care.

If you need support for a specific mental health problem—or if you’re having problems sleeping, controlling your anger, or readjusting to civilian life—you are not alone. And we can help.

To access free VA mental health services right away:

You don’t need to be enrolled in VA health care to get care.
Learn more about accessing VA mental health services

To connect with other resources for Veterans and transitioning service members:

Getting started

If you need support for a specific mental health problem—or if you’re having problems sleeping, controlling your anger, or readjusting to civilian life—you are not alone. And we can help.

Over 1.7 million Veterans received mental health services at VA last year. Our services range from peer support with other Veterans to counseling, therapy, medication, or a combination of these options. Our goal is to help you take charge of your treatment and live a full and meaningful life.

How do I schedule my first appointment?

If you’re already using VA medical services, ask your primary care provider to help you make an appointment with a VA mental health provider.

If you’re not already using VA medical services, contact your nearest VA medical center or Vet Center to talk about your needs.
Find your nearest VA medical center or Vet Center

What if I’m not sure what kind of help I need?

You can call 877-222-8387 to find the right resources for your needs. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-877-8339.

We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

It’s hard for me to get to a VA facility in person. Can I get mental health services online?

Yes. You may be able to use one or more of the care options listed below.

  • The Veteran Training online self-help portal for overcoming everyday challenges: You can use this portal’s tools to help manage your anger, develop parenting and problem-solving skills, and more. The tools are based on proven mental health practices that have successfully helped other Veterans and families. The portal is free, and you don’t have to sign in or provide any personal information to use the tools.
    Visit the Veteran Training portal

  • Smartphone apps for Veterans: There are more tools than ever before to support your mental health. Complement your care with mental health apps. These resources can help you manage posttraumatic stress disorder-related symptoms and stress, learn to practice mindfulness, manage depression symptoms and more.

  • The VA telemental health program: You can connect with a VA mental health provider through a computer or mobile device in your home or at your nearest VA health facility. If you’re enrolled in VA health care, ask any of your providers to help connect you with our telemental health program.

Can I speak to a fellow Veteran who’s been through this before?

Yes. The BeThere peer assistance program, in partnership with Military OneSource, offers support to service members (including National Guard soldiers and Reservists), their families, and transitioning Veterans up to 365 days after separation or retirement. Through this program, you can talk privately with peer coaches who are Veterans, service members, or military spouses.

To talk with a peer coach, call Military OneSource’s free, confidential peer support services at 800-342-9647. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What other options do I have?

Eligible service members, Veterans, and family members can visit one of our Vet Centers to get free individual and group counseling. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA health care or receive disability compensation to use these services. 

Vet Centers offer these types of services:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Couples and family counseling  
  • Military sexual trauma (MST) counseling
  • Readjustment counseling, like mental health services, and educational and employment counseling
  • Bereavement (grief) counseling
  • Substance use assessment and referral
  • Help applying for VA benefits

Find a Vet Center near you

You can also call 877-927-8387 (TTY: 711) to talk with a fellow combat Veteran about your experiences, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If you’d like to connect with other Veterans, families, and local services, you can visit our Make the Connection website. This site connects millions of Veterans, and their family members and friends, to local VA and community mental health resources. Visit the site to access these referral resources and hear Veteran testimonials of strength and recovery.

Go to Make the Connection

More information about VA mental health services

Get answers to other questions you may have about our services.

Being diagnosed with a mental health condition or seeking mental health care doesn’t automatically put work-related credentials, such as security clearances, at risk. Most employers recognize that healthy employees who get help when they need it are more productive and effective in their jobs than those who aren’t performing at their best because they’re not feeling well.

No. If you don’t qualify for VA health care, you may still be able to get certain health care services, like care for needs linked to military sexual trauma.

Call our health benefits hotline at 877-222-8387 to find out what your care options may be. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Depending on your needs and situation, you can also:

  • Get free private counseling, alcohol and drug assessment, and other support for combat Veterans and families at one of our 300 community Vet Centers.
    Find a Vet Center near you
  • Contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-424-3838 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A trained VA counselor will offer information about VA homelessness programs, health care, and other services in your area. The call is free and confidential.
  • Call or visit your local VA Community Resource and Referral Center. Even if you don’t qualify for VA health care, our staff can help you find non-VA resources you may qualify for in your community.
    Find your local Community Resource and Referral Center

Or you can apply for VA health care to access more services:

Find out if you’re eligible for VA health care
Learn how to apply for health care benefits

To learn more about whether you’re eligible for services, call your nearest VA medical center.
Find your nearest VA medical center

Or call 877-222-8387 to find the right resource for your needs. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 800-877-8339. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

You’ll start receiving help the day you reach out to us. We offer same-day services to make sure we can either address your mental health needs or schedule the right follow-up care right away. The specific care you receive will depend on how urgent your needs are and the level of treatment you’re looking for.

Same-day services may include care such as:

  • Meeting face-to-face with a VA health care provider (including walk-in appointments at a clinic or urgent care center)
  • Having a telehealth or video care appointment with a VA provider
  • Talking by phone with a VA nurse who can offer medical advice (called “nurse triage”)
  • Communicating with a VA provider through Secure Messaging
  • Scheduling a future appointment
  • Getting a prescription filled

We provide a range of mental health services such as:

  • Short-term, inpatient care for Veterans with severe or life-threatening mental illness
  • Outpatient care for Veterans with serious mental illness who have a lot of trouble functioning in daily life
  • Regular outpatient care, which may include care provided over the phone, for Veterans facing a difficult time in their lives
  • Rehabilitation treatment and residential (live-in) programs for Veterans with mental health problems and other needs (like those related to homelessness, job training, and education) who would be best helped by getting treatment or living in a structured setting for a period of time
  • Primary care for many common mental and behavioral problems
  • Supported work settings to help Veterans join the work force and live well in the community

We also provide care to Veterans in crisis. This includes:

  • Emergency mental health care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through VA medical centers and some local, non-VA hospitals
  • The Veterans Crisis Line, which offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for Veterans in crisis and their families and friends

Learn more about VA mental health services

Yes. In addition to online resources, caregiver support coordinators at your nearest VA medical center and a caregiver peer support mentoring program can help connect caregivers to one another for support and learning.

To get support as a caregiver:

You can also contact our Coaching into Care program to speak directly with a licensed psychologist or social worker, free of charge. They can provide information about mental health and VA services, as well as tips for how to begin the conversation about treatment with a loved one.

To reach a licensed psychologist or social worker:

You can use our facility locator to search for VA health facilities near you.
Find your nearest VA health facility

Resources and support outside VA

You can also get support from resources offered by other government departments and community organizations outside of VA.

Mental health resources for Veterans, service members, and families

Military OneSource
This free service provides expert support to connect military personnel and their families with the best available resources to fit their needs. For support, visit the Military OneSource website or call 800-342-9647 anytime, day or night.

National Suicide Prevention and substance use resources

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
This 24/7, 365-day-a-year emergency mental health hotline offers support for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

To reach the hotline:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The foundation provides mental health resources for people struggling with thoughts of suicide. They also offer supportive educational tools for concerned family, friends and peers.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA offers free, confidential help with treatment referral and information services for individuals and families facing mental health and/or substance use disorders. Support is available 24/7, 365-days-a-year, in both English and Spanish.

To reach SAMHSA’s National Helpline:

Community mental health resources

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI builds better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness by providing education programs for families and individuals living with mental health problems.

The Jed Foundation
The foundation works closely with teenagers and young adults who may be experiencing mental stress or may be at risk for suicide during times of change.

Mental Health America
This organization advocates for policies that promote mental health and the rights of people living with mental health problems. They also provide education and connections to mental health resources.