VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy is a national initiative that aims to achieve a more collaborative system of care for the benefit of Veterans and their families. The initiative is born out of understanding that mental health and spirituality are interrelated aspects of overall health for many Veterans. For these Veterans, it is important that their needs be attended to within a coordinated system of care. Through education, research, clinical activities, and policy work, the Mental Health and Chaplaincy program seeks to foster the development of a more integrated system of health care.
VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy began in 2009 as an initiative out of VA’s Office of Mental Health Services. Since this time, the program has worked closely with mental health providers and chaplains in VA in addition to extensive collaboration with the Department of Defense (DoD). In 2010, VA and DoD jointly launched an Integrated Mental Health Strategy to improve the quality and continuity of mental health care services for Veterans and Service members. Chaplains have been a key part of this cross-departmental strategy. Through research, evaluation, program development, education, and systems redesign efforts, the VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy program aims to equip providers to better integrate care services and meet the needs of Veterans, Service members, and their families.