May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) is promoting methods to keep veterans safe from exposure to the coronavirus.


Veterans who may need help may callthe Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or they may use online services.


“In this time social distancing and isolation, be aware of veterans who may be experiencing stress about the outbreak,” a spokesman said in a news release. Those who may encounter veterans who need help should also call the crisis line.


To help reduce the risk of infection at the facility, CAVHS asks that veterans use VA’s online resources for routine or non-urgent mental health care and questions. This will help protect veterans from contracting COVID-19 while enabling providers to focus on care for veterans with the most acute needs, according to the release.


“Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, and out of concern for our local veterans, we are honoring current physical distancing guidelines,” said Mike Ballard, Mental Health chief. “Through VA’s virtual care tools, we are able to leverage available technology to make sure that our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.”


VA offers veterans at-home resources, including the following:


Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans should maintain their existing mental health appointments — and may receive care at home — using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, veterans can send their health care provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans can learn more about VA Video Connect at mobile.va.gov/app/va-video-connect.


Prescription Refills and Safety – Veterans should continue taking all medications as prescribed and talk to their mental health provider if they have any concerns. Veterans may request prescription refills and order shipments of medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app, which can be downloaded at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.


Mental Health Information and Resources – Information about managing stress and anxiety, as well as mental health resources, are available at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus/resources.


Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19. This application helps veterans monitor their symptoms and can assist those who need to contact their VA facility for care. Veterans may enroll in the app at mobile.va.gov/annie.


Mental Health Month – This May, VA is observing Mental Health Month by emphasizing that “Now Is the Time.” Even during the coronavirus outbreak, veterans can still prioritize their mental health. Veterans and their families can visit www.MakeTheConnection.net/MHM to learn more about mental health resources and hear stories of recovery from other veterans.


Details: www.mentalhealth.va.gov/coronavirus.