VA Western New York Healthcare System
Mental Health Summit Highlights Opioid Epidemic
In response to the opioid epidemic, this year’s VA mental health summit held in Buffalo, New York, was focused on bringing together key stakeholders from the public health community with the goal of enhancing access to mental health services for Veterans and their families. Bradford Mersereau, MD, Chief, Primary Care, VA Western New York Healthcare System was the keynote speaker for the event held on September 7, 2017, at VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Buffalo site. Dr. Mersereau made clear the provider point, “VA’s mission requires additional ownership of Veterans’ conditions at hand. We are responsible to skillfully manage Veterans pain management needs in a holistic sense.”
During the summit, Jill Murray, Behavorial Health Careline Manager, provided an overview of current VA initiatives to include the Secretary of VA’s number one clinical initiative, suicide prevention. Said Murray, “suicide prevention and opioid safety are two major priorities for Western New York. We want VA providers and our community partners to embrace suicide and opioid abuse as treatable illnesses.” VA Western New York Behavioral Health services offer a wide variety of treatment programs to assist Veterans in developing an individualized treatment plan, and mental health providers are embedded in all of our primary care teams and available with a same day walk in servicing opportunity without a scheduled appointment through a primary care provider. The Mental Health clinic has same day mental health screening available by phone or in person at 716-862-3117. If you are a Veteran or family member in immediate crisis, please call the VA Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.