VA Puget Sound Health Care System

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With a reputation for excellence, innovation and extraordinary care of our Nation's heroes, VA Puget Sound strives to lead the nation in terms of quality, efficiency and public service through its proven record of innovation and extraordinary care of Veterans. As the primary referral site for VA's northwest region, VA Puget Sound provides care for over 90,000 Veterans each year from Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon.

The Mental Health Service of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System serves a major role in the health care system, providing services to nearly a third of this population each year. The mission of the Mental Health Service is to provide a full continuum of care that is innovative, evidence-based, recovery-oriented, and Veteran-centered.  Innovative treatment utilizes the latest and most effective treatment methods, and regularly evaluates programming to ensure the highest quality. Evidence-based treatments have demonstrated efficacy for specified psychiatric disorders. Recovery-oriented care focuses on empowering Veterans to develop hope, self-direction, respect, and peer support to live a meaningful life and reach their full potential. Lastly, Veteran-centered care focuses on providing care that is individualized, taking into account the Veteran’s current mental health needs, goals, values, strengths, and preferences.

The Mental Health Service has a strong academic and teaching mission, serving as a major research and training site for future psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, and a number of other allied health professionals. The VA Puget Sound has one of the Nation’s largest VA research budgets, and is on the leading edge in many areas impacting our Veteran population to include traumatic brain injury, telemental health, smoking cessation, geriatrics, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), to name a few.

Clinical Care

Clinical care in the Mental Health Service at VA Puget Sound spans the continuum of care, from high intensity acute inpatient services to ongoing traditional outpatient care.  Clinical care is provided through two main medical campuses (the Seattle and American Lake Divisions), as well as seven Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) throughout Western Washington.  The following are brief descriptions of the types of clinical care offered in the mental health service line:

             Acute Care:

  • Our inpatient, acute care services consist of both a state-of-the-art, 24 bed inpatient psychiatric unit as well as psychiatric consultative/liaison services to other medical services throughout the hospital.
  • Our ambulatory, acute care services consist of walk-in, urgent, and emergent services across the health care system.
  • We also provide the only center for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for veterans in our five state region.

Primary Care Mental Health Integration:

  • Integrated Primary Care/Mental Health services are provided across all sites of care for Veterans in VA Puget Sound.
  • Veterans attending primary care appointments are able to see mental health providers in their primary care office through a same-day-access model as well as receive focused, time-limited treatment within a collaborative care model in Primary Care Medicine.

Specialty Mental Health Care:

  • For patient’s needing specialized mental health treatment, the Mental Health Service provides a wealth of resources to patients oriented to patient recovery and overall wellness

o   Our clinics are structured in a team based care model.  Patients have individual providers, and those providers collaborate in a team setting to provide the best possible care to patients.

  • Our specialty care clinics provide evidence based, individual and group based psychotherapy for a myriad of mental health disorders including depression, substance use disorders, and PTSD.
  • The clinics also provide individualized, evidence based psychopharmacologic treatments for patients to assist in their recovery.
  • In addition to more traditional models of outpatient mental health care, our clinics have robust programing for highly active case management programs and recovery programming for patients with chronic mental illness.
  • For patient’s needing long-term, residential treatment, the VA provides residential based care for PTSD and substance use disorders through our American Lake division.
  • Our specialty care clinics are also committed to providing specialized care to women and those veterans who are victims of military sexual trauma.

Promoting Access through TeleHealth (PATH) Service

  • The PATH Service is comprised of behavioral health providers throughout VA Puget Sound who use technology to deliver patient care across VA Puget Sound and beyond to remote areas of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska (e.g., telephone, home monitoring, CVT, web-based services, etc.). In addition to clinical care delivery, PATH aims to provide education and training opportunities to VA Puget Sound clinicians and trainees interested in learning more about the diverse technology used in telemental health, as well as specialized clinical and programmatic considerations for this mechanism of service delivery.

Suicide Prevention Program

  • The VA Puget Sound has a robust Suicide Prevention Program, involving education, research, outreach, and clinical intervention and support for staff and Veterans.
  • The Veteran’s Crisis Hotline has been an integral part of the VA’s efforts to provide care for Veterans in crisis. Since its launch in 2007, the Veteran’s Crisis Line has answered more than 1.1 million calls and made more than 37,000 lifesaving rescues. In 2009, the Veterans Crisis Line added an anonymous online chat service and has engaged in more than 160,000 chats. In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text-messaging service to provide another way for Veterans to connect with confidential, round-the-clock support, and since then has responded to more than 21,000 texts.

Contact Us

Seattle Division
VA Puget Sound - Seattle Division
1660 South Columbian Way
Seattle, WA 98108
P: 206-762-1010 or toll free 800-329-8387
American Lake Division
VA Puget Sound - American Lake Division
9600 Veterans Drive
Tacoma, WA 98493
P: 206-762-1010 or toll free 800-329-8387

 
For a map and directions to a VA location please click here.


 

 
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Joel C. Mitchell, Phd, EdS
 
Chief, Mental Health Service VA Puget Sound Health Care System

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
 
P: 206-768-5375
E: joel.mitchell@va.gov
 
Administrative Assistant:
P: 206-277-4717
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