Suicide, drug addiction top concerns for veterans’ care providers

20 U.S. veterans die each day by suicide

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Getting our veterans the best possible care was the topic of discussion at a mental health summit held in Holyoke on Monday. The Central-western Massachusetts VA hosted the event.

This was the 4th annual Veterans Affairs Mental Health Summit. VA staff were working with their community partners to improve access to mental care for veterans.

Dr. Dana Weaver, the Chief of Mental Health Services at the VA Central-Western Massachusetts, told 22News the challenges they face really reflect the national challenges, with suicide and opioid abuse topping their list.

“Twenty veterans die each day by suicide,” Dr. Weaver explained. “But only six of those veterans are enrolled in care with the VA for mental health services.”

Dr. Weaver said they want to connect with all veterans no matter if they are eligible for VA care to make sure they get an appropriate provider in the community.