Veterans mental health experts at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System admit the VA "can't do everything alone."
So, the Bay Pines VA is holding a mental health summit today, looking to community partners to help provide veteran services both inside and outside the VA System. Local mental health agencies, private health care organizations and some hospitals are expected to attend the invitation-only event.
“The purpose of summit is to come together as a team,” said Jason Dangel, the Bay Pines VA public affairs officer. "We have a lot of resources in the VA, many resources in mental health to serve the veterans, but we can't do it alone."
Aside from inpatient mental health services, the Bay Pines system offers around-the-clock mental health service in its emergency room. There’s also intensive outpatient treatment, substance abuse, residential treatment, and specific services dedicated to Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At the summit, being held at the St. Petersburg College Library Conference Center in Seminole, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will discuss how the VA mental health services helped him. There’s also advice for family members of veterans on how to recognize symptoms, when and where to get help.
"It's obvious that many, many, many people want to help veterans,” Dangel said.
For those unable to attend, Bay Pines also offers VA mental health services information online.