VA adds to staff as part of White House initiative

JACKSON — The G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Jackson has added 30 new mental health professionals.

President Barack Obama has set a goal of adding 1,600 providers in the nation’s 152 VA medical centers.

Jackson VA Medical Center Director Joe Battle says in a statement that the hirings include four marriage and family therapists and three licensed professional counselors. Both fields are new at the Jackson VA.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has put an increased focus on mental health services for veterans over the last few years.

The VA set a goal of 14 days for patients to wait for a mental health appointment. The average wait for Jackson’s center was slightly more than 20 days, according to VA figures from the first six months of FY 2011.

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