VA to Hire More Than 800 Veterans

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Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) library featured information and reading materials on mental health, which were displayed at the NMCP Mental Health/Suicide Awareness Health Fair.
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) library featured information and reading materials on mental health, which were displayed at the NMCP Mental Health/Suicide Awareness Health Fair on Sept. 18. 2019. (Seaman Imani N. Daniels/U.S. Navy photo)

As the nation's largest integrated health-care system, the Department of Veterans Affairs cares for more than 5.5 million veterans annually. It has seen an increase in the amount of service members who are dealing with pressing mental challenges that may include, but are not limited to, PTSD, depression or readjusting to civilian life. This latest initiative is aimed at increasing access to mental health-care services for our nation's veterans by hiring new mental health professionals.

Peer specialist and peer support apprentice positions are to be filled by eligible veterans and transitioning military personnel who have been successfully and actively engaged in their own recovery of a mental health or co-occurring condition for a minimum of one year. Peer specialists must be trained and certified, while peer support apprentices will be expected to go through training for their certification once hired.

An eligible veteran, as defined by Public Law 110-387, added 38 U.S.C. § 7402(b)(13), states that to be eligible to receive appointment to a peer specialist position, a person must be a veteran who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health condition; be certified by either a not-for-profit entity engaged in peer specialist training, as having met such criteria as the secretary shall establish for a peer specialist position; or a state, as having satisfied relevant state requirements for a peer specialist position.

For more information about or to apply for peer specialist or peer support apprentice positions, visit www.vacareers.va.gov.

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