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American Counseling Association
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by American Counseling Association category: Cause
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:
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!
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American Counseling Association
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