Mental Health Summit held at VA

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain hosted its second annual Mental Health Summit as a part of a national initiative to improve mental health care for veterans.

There were a total of 42 participants in this year’s summit representing government agencies, community organizations, and veteran family members.

The purpose of the summit was to bring together key stakeholders in the community with the goal of enhancing access to mental health services and addressing the mental healthcare needs of veterans and their family members.

“Oftentimes there’s a disconnect because we have a government agency versus a state or local program, so we are striving to collaborate and together provide the best care for our veterans,” said VA doctor of Behavioral Health, Barbara Nelson-Thomas.

During the conference both public and private entities came to engage in issue-related breakout sessions and several large group discussions.

One of the main focuses for this year’s summit was on how mental health issues impact family members.

“It brought a great dynamic to the mental health needs of not only the veteran, but the need for training, counseling, and support for the family members as well,” said Dickinson County Veteran Service Officer, Chuck Lantz.

This year’s summit was considered a success by its organizers in better understanding the needs of veterans, their families, and strengthening community collaborations.

For more information regarding VA mental health services go to, or call Iron Mountain VA mental health services at 1(800) 215-8262, extension 32541.