SAMHSA: Topics in the News

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2017 Voice Awards Event

August 16, 201710:30 p.m. ET

Register to attend SAMHSA’s 2017 Voice Awards! Help honor people in recovery and their family members who are community champions seeking to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses and addictions. The Voice Awards also recognizes television and film productions that educate the public about behavioral health and showcase that recovery is real and possible. Due to high demand, please reserve your seat (whether in-person or online) no later than Friday, August 4, 2017.

Update on the VA’s New Behavioral Health Activities and Direction

August 14, 20172:00-3:00 p.m. ET

Join SAMHSA’s SMVF TA Center on Monday, August 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET for the Update on the VA’s New Activities and Direction: Strengthening and Expanding Behavioral Health Care for Veterans webinar. This webinar will provide a policy-level overview of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) recent efforts to increase access to behavioral health care and address suicide prevention.  Areas that will be covered include the expansion of emergency mental health coverage to veterans with other than honorable discharges, the initiative to eliminate veteran suicide, MyVA community collaborations and partnerships, changes to the Choice program, plans for the adoption of a new electronic health record system, and other behavioral health access initiatives.

VA Answers Governor Christie’s Call on Opioids, Launches S.T.O.P. P.A.I.N. Advice and Guidelines

When it comes to treating pain and substance abuse, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is recognized by many as a leader in the pain management field and the responsible use of opioids across the VA health-care system. “Recent studies and stories have pointed to VA’s success in its approach to pain management and responsible use of opioids with our Veteran patients,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin.

VA Caregiver Support Program Resumes Full Operations

VA announced it is resuming full operations of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. The resumption follows an April 17 decision to temporarily suspend certain clinical revocations from the program to conduct a strategic review aimed at strengthening the program. “VA has taken immediate steps to improve the program’s operations,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin. M.D. “Our top focus during the review has been to listen, evaluate, and act swiftly to make changes that will better meet the needs of our veterans and caregivers. This does not mean our work is done. We will continue to refine and improve this important program.”

Updated PTSD Guidelines and Recommendations Released: Learn About the Changes

VA and Department of Defense (DoD) released an updated version of the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). The new version incorporates research conducted since the last revision in 2010 and covers treatment for both PTSD and ASD. There are several new recommendations, so both seasoned and new mental health practitioners should take time to review it.

Opioid Treatment: New Guidance for Providers on Risks, Recommendations

Doctors may prescribe opioid medications to treat severe or chronic pain. But using them comes with notable risks—especially for those coping with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, or substance misuse.

The Association Between Discharge Status, Mental Health, and Substance Misuse Among Young Adult Veterans

Although 85 percent of military service members are discharged honorably, veterans who engage in misconduct during military service may receive other types of administrative or punitive discharges. The discharge type not only affects eligibility for benefits, but is associated with negative downstream consequences (e.g., homelessness, criminal justice involvement). However, limited empirical research has examined the mental health and substance use-related needs of veterans who were not honorably discharged, and the few that have only focus on veterans who received punitive discharges. This study addressed gaps in the research literature on discharge status by examining differences in mental health, substance use, and attitudes toward psychological treatment among veterans who received honorable, general under honorable conditions, and other than honorable discharges.

Journey to Success: Employment Tools for Veterans with Disabilities

Military veterans bring experience and skills of great value to the workforce. This document describes services that help veterans with a disability enter the workforce and find fulfilling employment. Some of the services are open only to veterans, but many of them are available to any American with a disability.

Social Security is There for Those Who Served Our Country

The men and women who served our country in the military can count on Social Security to be there for them throughout their lives. Active duty military members earn credits toward Social Security retirement benefits. Wounded Warriors can receive expedited handling of their claims to receive disability benefits. We also provide survivor benefits for young children and spouses of veterans who have died.

7 Ways to Get Smart About TRICARE

When you need information about your TRICARE health care benefits, turn to In addition to this website, there are a number of resources to help you learn about your coverage and important health issues. Take a look at seven ways to get smart about TRICARE.

Shulkin to VFW: We Want Veterans to Get the Right Care at the Right Place

On Monday, July 24, VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin addressed an audience of Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary members at the Veterans of Foreign War 118th National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. In his remarks, Shulkin spoke on the five key priorities he has identified to transform VA. The first of those five priorities is to give veterans greater choice.

Clinic Specializing in Care for Veterans and their Families Opens in Fayetteville, North Carolina

A behavioral healthcare clinic dedicated to veterans and their families has found a home in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Stephen A. Cohen Military Family Clinic marked its grand opening with a special ceremony featuring Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Kyle White. White survived a rocket propelled grenade blast in Afghanistan but battled PTSD when he returned home.

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