Patients with psychiatric disorders are treated by both mental health specialists and non-specialists. We use national data from the Veterans Health Administration to evaluate changing proportions of patients seen exclusively by non-specialists during the study year (FY 2012) limit as well as differences in socio-demographic, clinical and service use characteristics. There has been a five-fold increase in veterans with mental disorders seen by non-specialists over 20 years from 7 to 38%, findings similar to those in non-VA settings. Veterans treated by mental health specialists were younger, more likely to have been homeless and disabled, and had more severe and more numerous psychiatric diagnoses. There is a need to maintain specialty services and to strengthen non-specialty care through education and research.