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VA encourages veterans to access mental health support from home amid COVID-19 outbreak

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Wilmington Veteran Affairs Medical Center announced its commitment to providing timely high-quality mental health care while keeping veterans safe from exposure to the coronavirus.

To help reduce community spread and to promote the safety and wellbeing of veterans, the Wilmington VA Medical Center asks that veterans continue to use VA’s online resources — at mentalhealth.va.gov — for routine or nonemergency mental health care and questions.

Virtual care models are safe and effective ways to offer mental health services. Virtual care will continue to be a tool for how VA offers mental health services into the future. Veterans who have not participated in the virtual care platforms can contact the VA for assistance.

“Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, and out of concern for our local veterans, we are honoring current physical distancing guidelines,” said Tori Moskovciak, health behavior coordinator at Wilmington VA Medical Center. “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.”

VA offers veterans various at-home resources, including the following:

— 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. Learn more about VA Video Connect at mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.

— 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 — available at bit.ly/2W8OtSe — 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 mental health resources, are available at 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.

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

For more about Wilmington VA Medical Center’s current virtual wellness offerings, call Moskovciak at 994-2511, ext. 4662.

For veterans wanting to connect with a mental health provider, the Wilmington VA Medical Center behavioral health staff can be reached at 994-2511, ext. 5311.

Veterans in crisis, or those who know a veteran in crisis, should call in the Veteran Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1.

For more on how veterans can maintain and enhance their mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus.