New data from the Department of Veterans Affairs reveals that former servicemembers in need of treatment for mental illness continue to face delays in receiving counseling and medication.
USA Today reported that the VA did not help about 34 percent of veterans seeking mental health treatment within two weeks of their application in 2013. The mental health appointments include treatment for substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as psychiatry and psychology counseling.
According to a statement from the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, the federal agency mandates that appointments must be scheduled within a 14-day timeframe.
The news source reported that the waiting period varies depending on the type of illness and treatment. For first-time psychiatric therapy appointments, around half of the 47,700 applicants had a wait longer than two weeks, with the average wait lasting 15 days. Location also impacts the length of the wait. According to the source, veterans at Houston area medical centers were not treated until 28 days later. Los Angeles and Orlando were also among the cities with the worst delays.
A report released by the VA earlier this year stated that the agency is also focused on improving its post-discharge follow up of patients.