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VA: Hire Counselors Now!

by American Counseling Association category: Cause

“Our #veterans aren’t getting the #mentalhealth care they need and deserve. Tell the VA to hire more counselors now! http://thndr.it/1oxt5xa

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American Counseling Association
Supporters
858 of 500
172% of goal supported
Social Reach
430,061
People
Time Left
Complete
Ends Jul 24, 11:00 AM EDT

Complete

This campaign ended on July 24 at 11AM

VA: Hire Counselors Now!

In 2006, Congress empowered the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hire Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) to work in the Veterans Health Administration. Despite that law being in effect for seven years, LPCs still only make up less than one percent of the VA’s total mental health workforce.

The barriers that LPCs face are the result of self-imposed VA restrictions, which impede the hiring of counselors. For instance, counselors are not integrated into a VA training program for health professionals. The VA has not called on the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) to create what is known in the federal government as an “occupational series.” This means that agencies (in this case the VA) cannot and will not create job announcements because there is no position description. If an LPC does get hired, they may end up being placed into a sub-clinical position, which means they can’t actually counsel the veterans who need help.

The VA needs to be held accountable for their actions and they need to act NOW. By their own estimates, our nation loses 18 veterans a day to suicide. How many of those veterans died without receiving the care they needed and deserved? How many veterans will we lose before the VA decides to act?

Join our Thunderclap, and on July 24th, we can all spread the word: Congress must exercise its oversight authority and force the VA to act NOW!

Leaders in the House and the Senate must move quickly to safeguard the mental health of our veterans. Specifically, federal lawmakers can demand that the VA take the following actions:

  • Fully integrate Licensed Professional Counselors into the VA’s training program so that we can place more Licensed Professional Counselors into the “pipeline” to get hired by VA.
  • Direct OPM to create qualification standards so that an LPC can be hired to counsel veterans.
  • Call on the VA to appoint a liaison to the American Counseling Association to strategize ways to bring more counselors into the system.
  • Demand the VA issue a public notice to the entire VA healthcare system (Specifically to VISN Directors, VMAC Directors and HR Directors) reminding them that they are empowered to hire Licensed Professional Counselors, and telling them not to shut-out an entire profession that is trained to help our vets.
  • Tell the VA to collaborate with the American Counseling Association to help fill vacancies in the VA. The American Counseling Association has a national network and an office of professional affairs that can help find applicants for these positions.

Let Your member of Congress know that we can’t lose anther veteran because someone didn’t act. All of these measures can be implemented immediately and will not require a new law or executive order. All it takes is for the VA to act!

What is Thunderclap?
Thunderclap is a tool that lets a message be heard when you and your peers say it together. Join a Thunderclap, and you and others will share the exact same message at the exact same time and date, therefore spreading an idea throughout the social media universe that cannot be ignored.  If you have any other questions or concerns, visit the Thunderclap website FAQ section https://www.thunderclap.it/faq

How do I join a Thunderclap?

Simply click on a button at the top of the page to join through Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr and agree to let Thunderclap send our message on your behalf on July 24th.

Organizer

American Counseling Association
@CounselingViews

The American Counseling Association (ACA) is the world's largest association representing professional counselors in various practice settings. We serve more than 55,000 members with the resources they need to make a difference. ACA’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity. www.counseling.org

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