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Behavioral Health


Behavioral Health, in the context of VA benefits, refers to the mental and emotional well-being of veterans, and encompasses a wide range of mental health services and treatments. It involves the assessment, prevention, and treatment of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and other psychological disorders. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides access to these services for eligible veterans to support their overall health and wellness.

Key Takeaways

  1. Behavioral Health refers to the variety of mental health services, including therapy, counseling and interventions, specifically designed for veterans to address issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, or substance abuse disorders.
  2. These services are provided by the VA and its community partners, enabling veterans to receive care within the VA system or from external providers, making it more accessible and reducing wait times for appointments.
  3. Eligibility for behavioral health services depends on factors like duration of service, disability status, and income. It’s important for veterans to enroll in the VA Healthcare System to access these benefits and maintain a better quality of life.


The term “Behavioral Health” in the context of VA benefits is crucial as it refers to the specific mental health and substance use-related services provided to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

These services aim to address and treat various behavioral health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues that veterans may face after their service.

The provision of these resources and support demonstrates the VA’s commitment to prioritizing the psychological well-being of veterans, helping them transition and reintegrate into civilian life more effectively, while ensuring they receive appropriate care and assistance to overcome the challenges related to their mental health.


The purpose of Behavioral Health under the VA benefits system is to provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and compassionate care for veterans coping with a wide range of mental health and substance use disorders. These services are designed to address the unique challenges faced by veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and addiction issues stemming from the stresses associated with military service.

The VA recognizes that addressing these issues is essential for ensuring that veterans can successfully transition into civilian life and lead healthful, meaningful lives after their service. The Behavioral Health services offered through VA benefits encompass a variety of therapeutic approaches, including individual and group counseling, psychotropic medication management, psychoeducational programs, and even inpatient and residential treatment options for those in need of more intensive care.

Additionally, the VA strives to offer specialized treatment programs targeted at specific populations, such as female veterans and those at risk for homelessness. By providing tailored and accessible care, the VA’s Behavioral Health services aim to empower veterans to overcome the psychological and emotional obstacles they face, enabling them to achieve greater stability, improved relationships, and increased overall well-being.

Examples of Behavioral Health

The VA Benefits term “Behavioral Health” refers to the mental and emotional well-being of veterans, focusing on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of various mental health issues, including substance abuse disorders. Here are three real-world examples of Behavioral Health services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

Mental Health Treatment: The VA offers a wide range of mental health services to veterans, which include diagnostic assessments, psychotherapy, counseling, and medication management for conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder. These services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each veteran and are provided in various settings, such as outpatient clinics, inpatient units, and through telehealth services.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment: The VA recognizes that substance use disorders can significantly impact a veteran’s mental and physical health. As a result, the VA offers various treatment options, such as medical detoxification, outpatient counseling, residential treatment programs, and medication-assisted therapy, to help veterans overcome their addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.

Homeless Veterans Program: Homeless veterans are more likely to experience mental health issues and substance use disorders. The VA’s Homeless Veterans Program aims to provide support and treatment for behavioral health conditions in homeless veterans or those at risk of becoming homeless. The program offers services like case management, transitional housing, employment assistance, and mental health and substance use disorder treatment to help veterans regain stability and lead healthy lives.

FAQ – Behavioral Health VA Benefits

What are the behavioral health services offered by the VA?

The VA offers a range of behavioral health services, including mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, suicide prevention, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) care. Services are available at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics, as well as through telehealth and community care partners.

How do I access behavioral health services through the VA?

To access behavioral health services, you can either visit your local VA medical center or outpatient clinic, or you can call the VA’s general contact number at 1-800-827-1000. You may also be able to access certain services through telehealth or community care partners, depending on your location and eligibility.

Am I eligible for behavioral health services if I’m not enrolled in VA health care?

While priority for behavioral health services is given to enrolled veterans, the VA also provides services to non-enrolled veterans in certain cases. To find out if you’re eligible for behavioral health services, you can contact your local VA facility or call the VA’s general contact number at 1-800-827-1000.

Are there any costs associated with VA behavioral health services?

There may be costs associated with some VA behavioral health services, depending on your service-connected disability status, income, and other factors. However, the VA provides free mental health care for certain conditions related to military service, and many services are available at no cost to all veterans. To learn more about potential costs and copayments, visit the VA’s website or contact your local VA facility.

What resources are available for veterans in crisis or experiencing a mental health emergency?

If you or a veteran you know is in crisis, you can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or send a text message to 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line is a 24/7 confidential support service that connects veterans in crisis, as well as their families and friends, to qualified VA responders. Additionally, most VA facilities have walk-in emergency mental health services available.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Sources for More Information