A look at UHS' new 'multipronged approach' to treating veterans' mental health

Although veterans have a 57 percent higher risk of suicide compared to those who have not served in the military, fewer than 50 percent of returning veterans have access to necessary mental health treatment, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

When asked what aspect of mental health the healthcare industry should prioritize next, Matt Peterson, president of Universal Health Services' behavioral health division, shared with Becker's what steps the health group is taking to address this issue. 

Q: What aspect of behavioral healthcare in the U.S. should be prioritized right now? 

Matt Peterson: Providing behavioral healthcare services and support to our active duty and Reserve component service members come to my mind as a pressing priority. We each see the stats daily … the strain of multiple deployments and separations wears greatly on the bodies, minds and spirits of service members, veterans and their families. It is not uncommon for active duty service members and veterans to struggle with depression, post-traumatic stress, addiction or other behavioral health issues.


To address this intense need, our team here at Universal Health Services has dedicated programming on military culture and sensitivities via our Patriot Support programs. We provide support for all branches and components of the military. Depression and other behavioral health issues are not just experienced by service members, but also by their families. Patriot Support programs represent one facet of a multipronged approach to serve their needs.


In fact, we just announced the expansion of our Patriot Support Advisory Board of distinguished retired service members from various branches of the U.S. military, welcoming aboard Maj. Gen. Jerry Fenwick. I have personally served with Maj Gen. Fenwick and can speak to his relentless commitment to saving lives.

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