VA Puget Sound Health Care System
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
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 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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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
For a map and directions to a VA location please click here.
VA Puget Sound - American Lake Division
9600 Veterans Drive
Tacoma, WA 98493
P: 206-762-1010 or toll free 800-329-8387
Joel C. Mitchell, Phd, EdS
Chief, Mental Health Service VA Puget Sound Health Care System
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences