Dept. of Veterans Affairs: Improving Care for Serious Mental Illness (SMI)

One in four adults (nearly 58 million Americans) experience a mental health disorder in a given year, and 37% of Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who enter the VA healthcare receive a mental health diagnosis. Moreover, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental disorders, and by 2020, major depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children. Serious mental illnesses (SMI) are chronic conditions and include:

  • Major depression,
  • Schizophrenia,
  • Bipolar disorder (associated with highest risk for suicide among Veterans),
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD),
  • Panic disorder,
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and
  • Borderline personality disorder.

VA operates the largest mental health program in the nation. Part of VA’s efforts to ensure that Veterans receive the highest quality mental healthcare includes the VA/HSR&D Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, or MH-QUERI, which is committed to improving the quality of care, outcomes, and health-related quality of life for Veterans with mental illness.

–Department of Veterans Affairs

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