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Targeting innovations in veteran mental health

PREVIEW Columnist

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the first of multiple Industry Innovation Competitions in 2014, which identifies, tests and evaluates promising innovations that enhance the accessibility and quality of mental health care and services delivered to veterans.

“VA has established a track record as an innovative organization that welcomes new ideas,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This competition represents an important way for us to tap the significant pool of talent and expertise inside and outside of government to improve mental health care and services for our Nation’s Veterans, their families, and survivors.”

The innovations from this competition will add to VA’s already extensive mental health programs, which can be found at www.mentalhealth.va.gov.

The competition is part of the VA Center for Innovation (VACI), a department-wide program that seeks the most promising innovations from employees, the private sector, nonprofits and academia to increase veterans’ access to VA services, improve the quality of services delivered, enhance the performance of VA operations, and reduce or control the cost of delivering those services.

“With this competition we are focused on challenges that affect a population much larger than our Veterans; these are challenges facing our entire nation as we rethink our approaches to mental health care and services,” said Patrick Littlefield, acting director, VA Center for Innovation. “We anticipate these efforts will benefit a very large community of providers and customers. Here at VA, we continue to be focused on bringing to bear the best-of-breed solutions to serve our Veterans and their mentally healthy futures.”

This Industry Innovation Competition seeks creative solutions in three areas of significant importance to VA. Public and private companies, entrepreneurs, universities and nonprofits are encouraged to propose new ways to respond to veteran mental health challenges specific to the topics:

• Upstream suicide intervention.

• Improving veterans receptivity to mental health care to promote treatment, engagement and participation.

• Innovative methods of incentivizing behavior to improve mental wellness.

The office of the Archuleta County Veterans Service Officer provides assistance to qualified military veterans and their families, or survivors in applying to and obtaining VA program assistance, benefits and claims. This assistance is provided within the guidelines, policies and procedures established by the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This is a mandated program of the state of Colorado.

Further information 

For further information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The best way to contact me is to set up an appointment at home or in the office so I can schedule a specific time in order to answer and assist each veteran in Archuleta County.

This story was posted on February 13, 2014.