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Veterans Health Administration


Believe it! Mental Health Help is Here

Portrait of a senior man

About Face is one of many ways VA is providing access to care for Veterans with mental health conditions.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Albert Perna weighed 80 pounds when he was rescued from a Prisoner of War camp in Germany in 1945.

Today, he talks about having PTSD. When did he know? He and his wife were on a train, going to Atlantic City, when another train passed by. The noise of the train triggered unexpected memories for him and he dove for the floor, yelling “Incoming!”

At the time he needed help, although he was embarrassed for making a scene. Today, he is not embarrassed to tell you his story because he knows it may help other Veterans.

Connect with Other Veterans

Albert and other Veterans with PTSD are brave enough to step up and share their experiences in About Face. Learn how PTSD treatment helped turn their lives around.

It’s one of many ways VA is providing access to care for Veterans with mental health conditions.

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, time to focus on PTSD and other mental health issues and help your buddies, our men and women Veterans in need.

We turn to our peers for advice. Veterans hearing from other Veterans is especially useful in helping to break down the stigma associated with mental health issues and treatment.

Make the Connection is another way for Veterans and their family members to connect with the experiences of other Veterans — and ultimately to connect with information and resources to help them confront the challenges of transitioning from service, face health issues, or navigate the complexities of daily life as a civilian. Make The Connection is an approachable online resource that links Veterans to personal stories from their peers, to VA resources and support, and to reliable information about mental health and resilience.

Tools to Cope and Learn More

Self-help tools build coping skills. Try these yourself in the privacy of your own home to learn ways to manage and more:

Committed Caring Professionals

All major VA facilities offer mental health care. Not sure if you are ready yet? Watch Considering Professional Help. Learn what to expect, hearing from others who have been there. Decide if you would benefit from professional help.

To locate the nearest VA facility or Vet Center for enrollment and to get scheduled for care, Veterans can visit VHA’s website or one of the sites listed above.

Immediate help is available at the Veterans Crisis Line or by calling the Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.