The US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US, and drugstore chain Walgreens announced a collaborative agreement which will help improve mental health care for Veterans through enhanced education, access to resources and outreach.
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) and drugstore chain Walgreens announced a collaborative agreement May 6, which will help improve mental health care for Veterans through enhanced education, access to resources and outreach.
VA, VFW and Walgreens will work together to reach Veterans in communities across the country with targeted initiatives to address mental health awareness and treatment, Veteran suicide prevention and opioid overdose education.
“Our work is driven by our commitment to encourage Veterans to get the care and services they need and integrate mental health care as part of their overall wellness and healthy lifestyle,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Joining forces with VFW and Walgreens provides VA an opportunity to further expand our reach and connect with Veterans, their families and the community to raise mental health awareness.”
As part of the collaboration, VA, VFW and Walgreens will:
“We know that the rate of suicide is increasing for all Americans, but the rate of increase is much slower for Veterans who receive VA care,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Acting VA Under Secretary for Health. “With this in mind, we need to cast a wider net and meet Veterans where they live to better engage them in care.”
“The mental well-being of America’s Veterans is of the utmost importance to the VFW,” said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy. “By working with several organizations including Walgreens and VA, we’re able to positively impact a great number of Veterans, and help to change the narrative associated with mental wellness.”
“We’re proud of the collaborations we’ve developed to provide greater access to pharmacy and health-care services for current and former members of the armed services, including retirees and their families,” said Brad Fluegel, Walgreens Chief Healthcare Commercial Market Development Officer. “We look forward to working closely with VA and VFW to help heighten mental-health awareness and hope to improve the health and well-being of more Veterans by connecting them with VA, VFW and other resources that can help.”
VA is a leader in educating patients about the risks of opioids, including opioid medications and dispensing naloxone to interested patients. To date, VA has issued naloxone to more than 60,000 Veterans to prevent overdose. Separately, other pharmacies, including Walgreens, have installed safe, medication-disposal kiosks and made naloxone available without requiring a prescription.
For more information about VA mental health services, visit http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov. Information about VFW may be found at www.vfw.org. More information about Walgreens may be found at www.walgreens.com.