New hires at VA to boost mental health care servicesby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Two medical centers that serve the state's military veterans are expanding this summer.
The Minneapolis VA Medical Center is adding two-dozen new mental health staff positions. The St. Cloud Medical Center is adding five new mental health staffers. The hiring is part of a national effort to help returning war veterans with mental health needs.
VA Medical Center spokesman Ralph Heussner says the new staff will allow them to help more Minnesota veterans.
"Our 24 staff [additions] will augment a current staffing level of mental health professionals of 265," Heussner said. "The additional staff will correspond with an increasing number of patients and will also allow us to supplement current services."
Minneapolis VA officials say each new mental health care provider helps reach hundreds more veterans with mental illness.
Heussner said they are moving quickly to fill the new jobs.
"Dealing with mental health stressors is a high priority for the VA so the VA secretary is making sure that we are adequately resourced to deal with the mental health needs of returning service members," he said.