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Focus On: Veterans

NAMI's advocacy encompasses the thousands of veterans with severe mental illness being treated in the Veterans Administration (VA) health care system. Within the VA, more than 454,000 veterans are service connected for a mental illness—with more than 102,000 veterans being treated for schizophrenia.

NAMI’s priority on veterans does not only exist at the national level, but also at the local level. The VA has 21 separate regional management centers, known as Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) – these "VISNs" were instituted to administer the health services (including mental illness treatment) for VA hospitals and clinics.  Link to the VA to find out what VISN you are in.

The NAMI Veterans Committee includes members in most of the 21 VISNs who advocate for an improved continuum of care for veterans, active military, and dependents with severe mental illness. The membership of the NAMI Veterans Committee consists of persons with mental illness, family and friends of a person living with a severe mental illness, and those who have an active involvement and interest in issues impacting veterans and our military.

The NAMI Veterans Committee serves to:

  • Improve the services delivered to veterans with serious mental illness
  • Provide and promote linkage between NAMI and the VA both nationally and locally
  • Assist VA in the provision of education about serious mental illness
  • Provide feedback on the quality of VA service delivery
  • Collaborate with VA in the development of resources for mental health services and research
  • Effectively collaborate with veteran consumers and their families

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