United States Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Mental Health Home

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2008

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week 2008! In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) as an effort to increase mental illness awareness, promote early detection and accurate diagnosis, and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.  Mental Illness Awareness Week developed out of NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) push for improvement of the quality of life for persons of all ages who are affected by mental illness by providing support, education, and advocacy.

Mental Illness Awareness Week and NAMI supports a national effort to transform America’s mental health care system, combat stigma, support research and attain adequate health insurance, housing, rehabilitation, jobs and family support for millions of Americans living with mental illnesses.



You may be contacted by the RAND research organization to participate in a survey.
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Suicide Prevention

The VA has released a public service announcement by actor, Gary Sinise, urging veterans in distress to contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Sinise is known for his portrayal of a troubled disabled veteran, "Lieutenant Dan", in the motion picture, "Forrest Gump". Learn about all of VA's ongoing suicide prevention efforts.

How to recognize when to ask for help (MS Word) Signs, Myths and Realities

Suicide Prevention Awareness

Suicide is the 11th most frequent cause of death in the U.S. — someone dies from suicide every 16 minutes. Suicidal ideas and attempts to harm oneself are the result of problems that may seem like they can't be fixed. Together, Vet Centers and VA Medical Centers stand ready to reach out and help veterans at risk for suicide. Seek professional help...Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention hotline and indicate you are a veteran. You'll be immediately connected to VA suicide prevention and mental health professionals. We can help — if you feel you are in crisis, call the Suicide hotline (1-800-273-TALK), your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center today!

Veterans Hotline Information*

Suicide Prevention Letter from the Under Secretary of Health

Suicide is not the answer

Are you, or someone you love, at risk of suicide? Get help if you notice any of the following:

  • Talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Trying to get pills, guns, or other ways to harm oneself
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting in a reckless or risky way
  • Feeling trapped, like there's no way out
  • Saying or feeling there's no reason for living

How to recognize when to ask for help (MS Word)  Signs, Myths and Realities

Returning from War

Help for Veterans returning from the Iraqi war.

Check out Afterdeployment.org* a new wellness resource site developed by DoD and VA Service Members, Veterans, and Military Families. If you've deployed, or know someone who has, you know that spending time in a war zone means being changed in some way. Some of these changes are good. But some of these changes may be causing problems for you or for someone you know. Having problems after a deployment is normal.


MTVu presents:  Half of Us: Iraq War Veterans*

Four college students talk about the difficulty of adjusting from life at war to life at school.


Combat Veterans Eligibility for VA Health Care Benefits has been Extended!

Recent changes in eligibility laws extends the period of enhanced healthcare enrollment, providing certain veterans up to 5 years of care after discharge. This is big news for our OEF/OIF veterans so we encourage you to visit the VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment site.



Pittsburgh's Domiciliary Aftercare Program

Video: Actor Gary Sinise Speaks Out on Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you or someone you care about is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1. Your call is free and confidential.

VA Mental Health Services & Links

VHA provides psychiatric services at medical centers and outpatient clinics and the services include:
Compensated Work Therapy
Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECC)
My Healthe Vet
National Center for PTSD
OEF/OIF Returning Veterans - Mental Health Effects
Polytrauma System of Care
Substance Abuse Resources
Vet Centers (Readjustment Counseling Services)
Veteran Recovery
Women Veterans