Rural Veterans Toolkit
Resources for Veterans
Resources for Veterans
Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.
Transitioning Service Member - Almost all service members will have reactions after returning from deployment. These behaviors and feelings are normal, especially during the first weeks at home. Despite the challenges of reintegration, most service members will successfully readjust with few problems. However, seeking solutions to problems is a sign of strength. Don't hesitate to take advantage of the resources that are available to you and your loved ones. Having knowledge, coping skills, and social support will positively influence your ability and attitude to handle the uncertainties post-deployment and better prepare you for the coming reintegration.
Find Local Mental Health Support - Your mental health is a critical component of your overall wellness. If you are experiencing mental health challenges, or suspect a family member would benefit from talking to a mental health provider, VA offers ways to help. Veterans and their family members can connect with support through in-person appointments at local VA facilities, telehealth sessions, and online resources. Learn more about how you or someone you care about can find help, either in your local community or online.
VA provides a continuum of forward-looking outpatient, residential, and inpatient mental health services across the country. Points of access to care span VA medical centers, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, Vet Centers, and mobile Vet Centers. This guidebook highlights information on the range of VA mental health services and related programs designed to address the mental health needs to veterans and their families. See the comprehensive guidebook.
Give an Hour - Give an Hour provides access to volunteer mental health professionals across our nation who provide free mental health services to U.S. military personnel, National Guard and Reserve service members, and families. If you are seeking help, they offer a range of services to address a variety of needs including current conflicts.
Veterans Benefits Administration - The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) provides a variety of benefits and services to service members, Veterans, and their families. The following is a list of the major program offices within VBA: Compensation Service, Pension and Fiduciary Service, Insurance Service, Education Service, Loan Guaranty Service, Office of Transition and Economic Development, Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) Service, Office of Field Operations, and Appeals Management Center. Visit the website for more information.
Veterans Crisis Line - This confidential toll-free hotline, text messaging, and online chat service connects veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.
- Text to 838255.
- Chat online.
Self Help Resources - Self-help materials can provide valuable education and support for veterans who may be facing mental health challenges, their friends, and family members. There are a wide variety of self-help materials available and it can sometimes be difficult to select the most useful. These self-help materials are intended to help Veterans in their recovery by offering education about mental health conditions as well as tips and coping strategies for success in regaining wellness. Although not a substitute for direct mental health care, these materials are additional resources that can support and enhance care. This brief guide lists a variety of books, web-resources, and mobile applications that have been reviewed and used by VA experts. Resource topics include:
Other Self Help Resources
Mental Health PTSD
Anxiety - It is natural to worry and feel anxious about things — that presentation at work, your growing to-do list, a relationship. Anxiety can help you confront stresses in your life, and for many people the feeling is motivating and doesn’t last long. But when persistent worries start affecting your day-to-day activities, your work, your sleep, or your relationships, it may be time to do something about it.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Recognize the Signs of PTSD. Sometimes, when you experience a traumatic event — a car accident, an IED blast, military sexual trauma, or the death of a fellow service member — that moment can continue to bother you weeks, months, and even years later. That can mean reliving the event: constantly replaying it in your head. It can mean avoiding places or things that remind you of the experience. It can also mean nightmares, sleeplessness, or anxiety. You might feel numb or, conversely, feel hyperaware of your surroundings.
Depression - Do you feel like you’re in a rut and you just can’t get out? Everyone feels sad at times, but those feelings typically will pass within a few days. If you can’t seem to rally, and it’s starting to interfere with your daily life, it could be a sign of depression. Depressive disorder can affect anyone. It may be marked by feelings of intense sadness or hopelessness, and some find that they lose interest or pleasure in activities that they used to enjoy. People with depression can experience feelings of guilt, unworthiness, or low self-esteem, and they may start avoiding being around people.
Substance Use - Sometimes, people turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to relieve stress or the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other mental health conditions. But misusing alcohol and drugs can lead to substance use disorders (SUD) and serious health, relationship, employment, and legal problems.
Suicide Prevention - Suicide is a national health concern that affects all Americans, whether or not they have served in the military. VA believes that everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. That’s why we are working with community partners across the country — including faith communities, employers, schools, and health care organizations — to prevent suicide among all veterans, including those who may never come to VA for care.
Women Veterans Health
About VA Health Care for Women Veterans - Did you know that women are the fastest growing group within the veteran population? Learn more about the changing face of women veterans and what VA is doing to meet their health care needs. At each VA Medical Center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager is designated to advise and advocate for women veterans. She can help coordinate all the services you may need, from primary care to specialized care for chronic conditions or reproductive health.
Women Veterans Healthcare Health and Wellness Services - The Women Veterans Health Program is dedicated to women veterans living healthy and staying well during every stage of their lives. We want to engage women veterans as partners in managing their health. This involves partnerships with national VA groups already working on patient education such as the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and MyHealtheVet and others.
Center for Women Veterans (CWV) - Monitors and coordinates VA’s administration of health care and benefits services, and programs for women veterans. Serves as an advocate for a cultural transformation (both within VA and in the general public) in recognizing the service and contributions of women veterans and women in the military.
Women Veterans Call Center - Do you know your veteran status? Do you have a veteran ID card? Should you receive any benefits from VA, like the GI Bill? Do you know what health care benefits you have earned? If you do not know the answer to even one of these questions, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) just for you.
Resources for Healthcare Providers
Community Provider Toolkit - Health care providers both inside and outside of the VA health care system can play an essential role in helping America’s Veterans access the mental health support they have earned. VA has developed a Community Provider Toolkit with information and resources that can enhance healthcare delivery and ultimately improve veterans’ health and well-being. Explore the community provider toolkit to learn more.
Rural Veterans Behavioral Health ECHO - The University of Missouri Telehealth Network hosts a virtual case-based learning and discussion session the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (CST). The goal is to support providers in the delivery of effective, quality behavioral health care for veterans living in rural areas. The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) is supported by a Federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant, awarded to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. During the ECHO, behavioral health experts across the state collaborate to meet the unique needs of veterans in rural areas by educating and supporting providers in the delivery of effective, quality behavioral health care.
PTSD Consultation for Providers - The goal of the PTSD Consultation Program is to improve the care available to all Veterans with PTSD regardless of where they access services. The PTSD Consultation Program is free and available to providers who are treating veterans with PTSD. Expert clinicians offer expert guidance on general issues that come up in the course of caring for veterans with PTSD.
Resources for Clergy
National Chaplain Center - The National VA Chaplain Center and VA Office of Rural Health (ORH) established the Community Clergy Training Program (CCTP) to educate rural faith communities to better identify and support rural Veterans with reintegration challenges. Through this ORH Enterprise-wide Initiative, clergy members, lay leaders, chaplains, and others can gain the knowledge and tools to become a refuge, resource, and referral point for veterans and improve their access to care.
Community Clergy Training Program Webinar Series - Community Clergy Training Program (CCTP) webinars cover topics that expand on and complement subject matter presented in Community Clergy Training interactive training events as well as topics identified by rural clergy as important to them when caring for veterans and their families.
VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy - 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 an 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.
Resources for Friends, Family, and Caregivers
As a family member or friend of a veteran, you can play an important role in providing support. People who are close to veterans are often the first to notice that they are facing a mental health challenge. Letting a veteran know you’re there for them can help start a conversation. Depending on your relationship with the veteran, and depending on what they’re going through, your support could range from a small act of kindness to intervening in a crisis.
Caregiver Support - Caregivers play an important role in the health and well-being of veterans. The Caregiver Support Program offers training, educational resources, and multiple tools to help you succeed.
VA’s Caregiver Support Line - Help is just a phone call away with VA's Caregiver Support Line – 1-855-260-3274. Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. ET; and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET. Caring licensed professionals staffing the support line can connect you with VA services, a Caregiver Support Coordinator at your nearest VA medical center, or just listen if that’s what you need right now. Caregivers can participate in monthly telephone education groups, where they can discuss self-care tips and ask questions on a variety of topics. Click to learn more about the monthly calls, listen to a recording or view an educational handout.
Coaching Intro Care - A national telephone service of the VA which aims to educate, support, and empower family members and friends who are seeking care or services for a veteran. Our goal is to help veterans, their family members, and other loved ones find the appropriate services at their local VA facilities and/or in their community, and coaching to family and friends of veterans who see that a veteran in their life may be having difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Coaching is provided by licensed psychologists or social workers, free-of-charge. Coaching involves helping our callers figure out how to motivate the veteran to seek treatment. Free, confidential assistance is available by calling 1-888-823-7458 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, or emailing CoachingIntoCare@va.gov.
Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) - FCAs mission is to improve the quality of life for caregivers with information, education, services, research, and advocacy programs. They support and sustain the important work of families and friends nationwide who care for loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions.
Give an Hour - Give an Hour provides access to a large network of volunteer mental health professionals across our nation, who provide free mental health services to U.S. military personnel, National Guard and Reserve service members, and families. If you are seeking help, they offer a range of services to address a variety of needs including current conflicts.
Make the Connection - MakeTheConnection.net is an online resource designed to connect veterans, their family members and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives. Over 400 veterans and family members from across the country have shared their stories of strength and recovery and it takes only seconds to find a story for you to watch and connect with. They also provide a resource locator that can help you find resources, programs, and facilities in your area, no matter where you are.
Military OneSource - Military OneSource has one mission to connect you to your best ‘MilLife’. This free service helps provide service members and their families information and resources vetted by the Department of Defense. Military OneSource connects you to programs, services and products developed to help you navigate military life. Examples of services include: help in planning for deployment or accessing resources for education, employment, nonmedical counseling, and financial management. Call 24/7 at 1-800-342-9647.
National Center for PTSD - The Family and Friends section of the National Center for PTSD website provides information about the effects of trauma on families, children, relationships and communities.
Veterans Crisis Line - This confidential toll-free hotline, text messaging, and online chat service resource is available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. The caring, qualified responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping veterans of all ages and circumstances. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
- Text to 838255
- Chat online
Resources for Veteran Parents
Military OneSource Family Support: This site features information for Veterans and their families on parenting, family life, relationships and more.
Parenting Toolkit: This resource comprises five toolkits for parents and care providers of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, and teenagers, with guidance specifically for Veteran parents and their significant others.