VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Women’s Mental Health Outpatient Program
The VA Palo Alto Health Care System, widely recognized for its innovative treatment and research programs, introduced the Women's Mental Health Center in October 2002.
The Center was created in recognition of women Veterans and their right for gender-sensitive, high-quality mental health care. The Center's mission, to promote the psychological well-being of women Veterans, is advanced via provision of individual and group therapy, and delivery of psycho-educational classes and seminars developed in response to the unique needs of the women we serve.
The Women's Mental Health Consult Team is a collaboration between VA professionals who provide medical, inpatient, residential, and outpatient care to women Veterans. The team meets bi-monthly to consult and coordinate patient care, so that both the quality and continuity of care for women Veterans is maximized.
The Women’s Mental Health Center aims to:
- Serve women Veterans through compassionate, innovative, and quality patient care in a safe and supportive environment;
- Promote excellence in research and education in areas of importance to the mental health of women Veterans;
- Provide quality training to emerging health care professionals about the mental health needs of women Veterans;
- Educate and empower women to obtain their optimal health.
National Treatment Leaders
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Our Mental Health Center leads the nation in exploring cutting-edge treatments such as ACT. ACT enhances one's capacity to live more fully according to personal values while also making life-enhancing choices. This powerful approach has been proven to help women Veterans cope with a wide variety of clinical issues, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, MST, and substance abuse.
Our Center was one of the first programs to implement Seeking Safety, a successful treatment for PTSD and substance abuse.
Dialectional Behavior Therapy
We offer an outpatient Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills support group geared to help women develop the skills needed to live and relate to others more effectively.
Research is currently ongoing to evaluate the Women's Self-Defense Project, a comprehensive course that empowers women Veterans with a history of sexual assault to build new skills for coping with their trauma history and preventing further victimization.
Sexual Trauma Group
Supportive group therapy is provided to women Veterans who have experienced sexual trauma. Participants do not engage in trauma work specifically, rather emphasis is placed on coping and other life enhancement skills.
Women Veterans will have the opportunity for one-on-one case management to address their particular mental health needs. Group therapy can also provide additional support and guidance.