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Improving Veterans Affairs Services by Embracing a Communitarian Model for Mental Health Providers
Michelle D. Sherman, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201300109
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Dr. Sherman is with the Department of Psychology, Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, both in Oklahoma City (e-mail: michelle.sherman@va.gov).

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

Abstract

Working as a mental health professional in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system can be very rewarding. Providers have the privilege of caring for America’s heroes, many opportunities to learn and implement evidence-based practices, and the ability to work in interdisciplinary teams. However, providers also face some unique challenges. VA leadership and staff can embrace a communitarian approach to professional ethics by creating opportunities for mental health professionals to engage in mutual awareness, support, and accountability. The author describes five ideas for infusing this model at VA facilities to support and strengthen the mental health workforce.

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