PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

PTSD Treatment Programs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

 

PTSD Treatment Programs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

In a Crisis?

  • If you are in crisis dial 911 or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), press 1 for Veterans.

No matter where you live, PTSD treatment in the Department of Veterans Affairs is available. Each medical center within VA has PTSD specialists who provide treatment for Veterans with PTSD and there are nearly 200 specialized PTSD treatment programs throughout the country.

Some large Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) also offer PTSD care. When there are no nearby facilities, smaller CBOCs provide needed treatment services by telemental health (using technology to communicate) or by referral to Vet Centers or community clinicians. This fact sheet describes the specialized PTSD programs and these other options within VA for getting PTSD treatment.

You can use this VA PTSD Program Locator to see if there is a specialized program near you.

Who is covered for VA care?

VA services are provided to all Veterans who:

  • Completed active military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard (or Merchant Marines during WWII)
  • Were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
  • Were National Guard members or Reservists who have completed a federal deployment to a combat zone

At times, the VA has special agreements to provide care to Active Duty service members and family.

What services are offered?

Each PTSD program offers education, evaluation, and treatment. Program services include:

  • One-to-one mental health assessment and testing
  • Medications
  • One-to-one psychotherapy and family therapy
  • Group therapy (covers topics such as anger and stress, combat support, partners, etc.) or groups for Veterans of specific conflicts or specific traumas

The VA provides treatments shown by research to be effective in treating Veterans. To learn about these treatments, see our Understanding PTSD Treatment page. Not all VA's offer the same programs, and some specialty programs require a referral. Your doctor can help you decide which program is best for you.

PTSD specialists

Every VA Medical Center has providers that have been trained to offer PTSD treatment. Services for PTSD are delivered by mental health care workers called PTSD specialists. For more information about types of mental health care workers, see our fact sheet: Types of Therapists.

In addition, all regions (called VISNs in VA) have specialized residential or inpatient care programs to address the needs of Veterans with severe symptoms or trouble functioning related to PTSD. Below you will find information about options for getting PTSD treatment within VA.

Specialized Outpatient PTSD Programs (SOPPs)

Regular outpatient PTSD care can be provided by a specialist or in an outpatient PTSD program including:

  • PTSD Clinical Teams (PCTs)
  • Substance Use PTSD Teams (SUPTs)
  • Women's Stress Disorder Teams (WSDTTs)
  • Day Hospitals

At these outpatient (not live-in) clinics, you can meet with a provider on a regular basis and receive group or one-to-one treatment. SUD-PTSD Specialists are available across the country to provide or arrange for treatment for both PTSD and substance use disorder. Day Hospitals offer more intensive outpatient treatment for four to eight hours per visit daily or several times per week.

Specialized Intensive PTSD Programs (SIPPs)

SIPPs provide PTSD treatment services in an inpatient or residential setting. Length of stay varies across programs and is based on the needs of the Veteran. SIPPs include:

  • Evaluation and Brief PTSD Treatment Units (EBPTUs)
  • PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (PTSD RRTP) and PTSD Domiciliary Programs (PTSD DOM)
  • Specialized Inpatient PTSD Units (SIPUs)
  • Women's Trauma Recovery Programs (WTRPs)

In addition to psychotherapy, SIPPs provide treatment to address other needs such as employment, housing, and recreation. Some programs offer dedicated services for groups with unique needs, including Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma (MST), Veterans with co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD), female Veterans, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) Veterans.

Although the programs may have different names, the intensive PTSD programs include evaluation, case management in 24-hour therapeutic settings, and psychotherapy treatment that is individualized to meet the needs of the Veteran and to help Veterans return to healthy living in the community.

Other options

Some VA medical centers are now offering walk-in clinics. By walking into the primary care clinic, a Veteran can usually be seen that day by a mental health provider.

Other VA treatment locations where a Veteran can get PTSD treatment include:

  • Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs)
    • Provide care in a local setting
    • Services include mental health care (some locations)
  • Primary care settings at many VAs
  • Vet Centers which are operated by VA's Readjustment Counseling Service. Call toll free: 877-WAR-VETS (927-8387).
    • Located outside medical facilities
    • Many workers are Veterans
    • Provide a mix of counseling and help with accessing other programs
    • No information about your treatment will be given to any person or agency (including the VA) without your consent

In summary

The goal of the VA is to provide the best care for our Veterans.

Go to the VA Facilities Locator to find a VA medical center, an outpatient clinic, or a Vet Center, or call VA Health Care Benefits: 1-877-222-8387. You can also find a specialized PTSD program using the VA PTSD Program Locator.

Date this content was last updated is at the bottom of the page.

Share this page

Where to Get Help for PTSD

The National Center for PTSD does not provide direct clinical care, individual referrals or benefits information.