Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VAMC
Philadelphia VAMC hosted its Mental Health Summit
The Mental Health Summit gave the VA, community partners, and Veterans an opportunity to converse on a number of topics. Break-out sessions were focused on the justice system, employment, women’s health, suicide prevention, family integration, accessing mental health care, and education and training.
One highlight of the summit was an address by Veteran Andrew Tatta who explained that before he turned to the VA for help he was contemplating suicide, but with the help of the VA he now had hope. Tatta is a founding member of the Veterans Empowerment Center.
Over 75 summit participants engaged in active dialogue on how the community addresses the mental health needs of Veterans suffering from mental illness, how they can enhance the working relationships among one another, and how to set new goals for the future. The collaboration started at the summit is only the beginning.
Suggestions were made by participants for ways to open and continue the lines of communication. Listserves, e-mails, websites, and future summits were just a few of the ideas proposed for the future.
Philadelphia’s summit was part of a nationwide initiative for VA to work with other agencies to enhance partnerships with community providers. VA is only one piece of the puzzle in terms of providing mental health care to Veterans. The community plays a strong part, and we look forward to continued collaboration and communication with all our community partners.