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 by involving and equipping care providers in each of the four domains outlined below.
If you are a VA chaplain or if you have particular interest in this work, we invite you to consider attending a two-day Bridging Chaplaincy and Mental Health Care Conference. Conference attendees are provided with education on particular topic areas such as the development of mental and spiritual problems in OEF/OIF Veterans, Veterans' beliefs about mental illness, red flags for spiritual issues, the development of theodicy for Veterans, women's issues, and family issues. Attendees are also provided with a basic overview of evidence-based mental health treatments and given basic training in how they might utilize certain principles of evidence-based approaches to mental health care. Conferences are held quarterly in diverse geographical regions across the country (click here for a sample conference agenda). If you are a VA chaplain, please be on the lookout for conference advertisements from the National Chaplain Center. You may also contact Mr. Phillip Cobrand for information.
VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy is a national initiative out of the VA Office of Mental Health Services. The program is administratively located within the VISN 6 Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) in Durham, NC. Dr. Keith Meador, a psychiatrist and practical theologian, serves as Director, with Dr. Jason Nieuwsma, a psychologist, serving as Associate Director and Chaplain Bill Cantrell serving as Chief Chaplain for the program. VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy is a partner with the VA National Chaplain Center and is in frequent collaboration with the National Center for PTSD and the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
If you are a Veteran or concerned family member in search of mental health or spiritual care services through the VA, please visit the VA Mental Health Homepage or the My HealtheVet Spirituality Center for resources and additional guidance.