Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Find mental health services, including treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Get help for veterans and family members to deal with mental health issues.

Get Help for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the misuse of alcohol (including underage drinking), use of illegal drugs, and the improper use of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Find treatment and recovery services for substance abuse and learn how to prevent drug and alcohol problems.

Recognize the Signs and Effects of Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug addiction can happen to anyone at any age. Learn the signs of someone with a drug or alcohol problem, the effect of drugs, and how to prevent substance abuse:  

Find Treatment for Substance Abuse

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers these services to help with drug and alcohol abuse:

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers veterans and their families a wide range of support services for substance abuse:

Find Local Help Centers for Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Get help from local support groups and other services in your community to stop drinking and taking drugs:

Find Mental Health Services

Mental health is as important as physical health. It includes your emotional, psychological, and social well being. Mental illnesses are serious disorders that can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior. There are many factors in these disorders, including genes, family history, and life experiences.

These government services can help you find someone to talk to, treatment options, and information on a wide range of mental health issues.  

Talk to Someone About Depression and Other Mental Issues

If you don't have access to a health care professional, call for help with mental health problems.

Get Treatment for Mental Disorders

Health centers and behavioral health treatment facilities can provide services that can help. 

Find Mental Health Information

Get information about the warning signs of a mental health problem and how to talk about these issues with others.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Help for Veterans

If you or someone you know needs help now, contact the Veterans Crisis Line. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can:

  • Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1

  • Send a text message to 838255

Mental Health Services from the VA

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health services can help with:

  • Anxiety

  • Other issues

Eligibility for Mental Health Services

Veterans enrolled in VA health care can receive mental health services.

Even if you're not enrolled in VA health care, you may be able to get help.

  • All veterans can get free VA mental health care for a year after they leave the military.

  • Vets who served in a combat zone can get free counseling and substance abuse screening at VA vet centers.

  • Other vets not enrolled in VA health care may be eligible for some types of support. Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 to find out.

Find VA Facilities

You can call or go to any VA medical center or vet center to get help. VA medical centers are open 24/7. Find VA locations near you.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Veterans

Veterans with substance use problems can get help through the VA. Treatment may include:

  • Safe detoxification with medication

  • Outpatient counseling

  • Residential care

  • Continuing care

You can seek treatment at a VA location or you can find a VA substance use disorder treatment program near you.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The VA can help veterans with PTSD, no matter when the triggering event occurred.

Support Programs for Life Events

The inTransition program offers specialized coaching for military members and veterans during transitions like:

  • Changing duty stations

  • Returning from deployment

  • Preparing to leave the military

To enroll, call 1-800-424-7877. Outside the U.S., call (DSN) 1-800-424-4685.

Make the Connection helps vets, friends, and family find help for various life issues.

Self-Help Resources and Apps

Use these mobile apps and online tools to help work through challenges:

  • Free mental health smartphone apps help with managing stress, fighting depression, relaxation, and positive thinking. Other apps can help you quit smoking, lose weight, and work with a therapist.

  • The PTSD Coach Online has tools to cope with symptoms like sadness, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. It was created to deal with issues that trauma survivors often develop.

Specialized Helplines for Veterans and Families

You can also find help through these websites and toll-free numbers:

  • Combat veterans hotline - 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387). Combat vets can talk to a fellow combat veteran. The line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Last Updated: July 15, 2019