VA Maryland Health Care System
VA Maryland Health Care System Hosts Mental Health Summit in Linthicum, MD
The VA Maryland Health Care System does not just treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or substance abuse. The VA Maryland Health Care System, which is committed to the health and well-being of the men and women who have served in uniform, treats complex human beings who are struggling to overcome invisible wounds. To this end, the health care system will host a VA Community Mental Health Summit on Sept. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Maritime Institute Conference Center in Linthicum, MD.
“Hosting these summits will allow staff from our medical centers a chance to sit at the same table with community partners—to listen to each other, learn from each other, and to build trust,” says Dr. Sarah Reading, director of the Mental Health Clinical Center at the VA Maryland Health Care System.
In an effort to break down existing silos in mental health treatment, more than 70 local community partners, who are key stakeholders in addressing the mental health needs of Veterans and their families, will gather with mental health professionals from the VA Maryland Health Care System to promote collaborations, generate mutually beneficial relationships, and discuss specific topics that will enhance the quality of mental health services for Veterans and their families in the Baltimore-metro area. “We hope that the conversation at this summit is just the start of a dialogue and numerous collaborations between VA and the many community organizations that help our Veterans and their families successfully transition to their civilian roles,” Reading says. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, various Veteran Service Organization representatives, Veterans and their families, and others will be among the participants at the mental health summit.
The VA recognizes that meeting the needs of Veterans and their families requires collaboration and partnership between VA, other federal agencies and local communities. The mental health summit will help those involved in mental health services find new ways to overcome barriers to collaborations. “These issues are urgent enough for us to focus on our shared mission and bring our combined and complementary resources to bear, which will allow us all to best serve the needs our nation’s Veterans and their families,” Reading adds.
Locally-driven VA mental summits across the country provide a well-established method to strengthen community partnerships, and they have also been successful in support of VA’s goal to end homelessness among Veterans.