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San Diego’s VA Medical Center Expands Mental Health Staff

Aired 6/13/12 on KPBS News.

As a part of a nationwide effort to expand mental health services to veterans, San Diego's VA Medical Center will hire more staff.

San Diego's VA Medical System is expanding its mental health department to meet with growing demand. The VA will add 32 new clinicians over the next few months.

The staff additions are part of a nationwide effort to expand mental health services to veterans.

Dr. Robert Anthenelli, associate chief of staff for mental health at the San Diego VA Medical Center, said over the last five years, demand for care has increased by 12 percent a year.

He said it takes about two weeks for most veterans to get an appointment.

"But there's still that minority that has to wait a little bit longer than we would like," Anthenelli explained. "And that's why we're hoping that this additional staff thing, and all of our other efforts at efficiency, are going to lead to every veteran getting the care he or she needs right away."

Anthenelli said the VA encourages veterans to seek mental health treatment if they feel the need.

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