Veterans encouraged to access VA Mental Health Support


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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now more than ever, the Chillicothe VA Medical Center is committed to providing high-quality mental health care while keeping veterans safe from exposure to the new coronavirus.

To help reduce the risk of infection at the facility, the VA asks that veterans use the VA’s online resources for routine or nonurgent mental health care and questions. This will help protect veterans from contracting COVID-19 while enabling providers at the Chillicothe VA to focus on care for veterans with the most acute needs.

“We are following recommended precautionary measures, including social distancing guidelines and the use of masks,” said Dr. Kathy Berger, medical center director. “Through VA’s virtual care tools, we are able to leverage available technology to make sure that our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.”

The VA offers veterans a variety of at-home resources, including the following:

Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, veterans can send online secure messages to their VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at myhealth.va.gov. Contact your local My HealtheVet Representative at the Chillicothe VA, 740-773-1141, ext. 6230 or 6372, with any questions.

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans should maintain their existing mental health appointments — and may receive care at home — using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, veterans can send their health care provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans can learn more about VA Video Connect at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center 17273 SR 104 Chillicothe, mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect, or contact thel Telehealth Team at the Chillicothe VA, 740-773-1141, ext. 6372 or 6391.

Prescription Refills and Safety – Veterans should continue taking all medications as prescribed and talk to their mental health provider if they have any concerns. Veterans may request prescription refills and order shipments of medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app, which can be downloaded at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill. VA’s Safe Home Environment handout provides information on safely storing medications in the home.

Mental Health Information and Resources – VA provides information on ways for veterans and their families to maintain and enhance their mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak. Information about managing stress and anxiety, as well as other mental health resources, are available at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/resources.

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps veterans monitor their symptoms and can assist those who need to contact their VA facility for care. Veterans may enroll in the app at mobile.va.gov/annie.

May is Mental Health Month – VA is observing Mental Health Month by emphasizing that “Now Is the Time.” Even during the coronavirus outbreak, veterans can prioritize their mental health. Veterans and their families can visit www.MakeTheConnection.net/MHM to learn more about mental health resources and hear stories of recovery from other veterans.

For more information on ways for veterans to maintain and enhance their mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus, or contact the Chillicothe VA Mental Health Care Line, 740-773-1141, ext. 7871 or 7872.

Submitted by Stacia Ruby, public affairs officer, Chillicothe VA Medical Center.

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