Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center hosts mental health summit for veterans

Veterans Affairs, Sept. 14th 2016, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

WHITE CITY, Ore. -- Veteran service organizations, health care providers, and non-profits came together Wednesday to talk about mental health for veterans.

Lelia Jackson is the director of community engagement for the VA in Washington DC. She said it's important for community leaders to come together, and fill the gaps when Veterans Affairs rehab cannot provide care.

"The VA is a great organization, we do a lot of great things for veterans but we can't do everything. We really need the help of our community partners to help us with mental health care. And they're experts, we have a lot of experts in our communities," Jackson said.

The summit went over issues like suicide prevention, aiming to get feedback from the community.

"Really being open to new, innovative treatments and therapies. Listening to our veterans and hearing from them about what they need," Jackson said.

Chris Petrone is a social work supervisor at the White City rehab center. He said this is important, as the VA changes the admission process for care.

"They need to be screened and assessed a little bit further by a clinical staff because sometimes people's medical or psychiatric needs exceed our ability to meet those needs. So this screening process will find them the best care possible," Petrone said.

Petrone hopes local input will make way for more mental health opportunities in the valley.

"Make sure how referrals are streamlined and how we can get veterans to get care quicker or more effectively. So veteran access to care is a key theme in that," he said.

These summits are held at VA centers across the country throughout the year.

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