ST. GEORGE – As war rages on throughout the world, veterans returning from battle are learning their challenges are not over. A significant amount of veterans are returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder, and a large amount of these result in divorce, isolation and even suicide.
Despite the rising toll of war, there are things we can do on the home front to help these veterans and their loved ones. The Vet Center of Washington County, also called the St. George Vet Center, celebrated its grand opening on Friday. The aim of the center is to provide counseling services to the St. George area, which is comprised of approximately 40 percent veterans.
The services at the Vet Center are available only to veterans who have served in an active combat theater of operations, readjustment counselor Bruce Solomon stated in comment to this article, with the only exception being veterans who are victims of Military Sexual Trauma also known as MST. The partners, spouses, children, and family members of the combat veteran are also able to receive the full services of the Vet Center.
Non-combat veterans can receive counseling services at the Community-based Outpatient Clinic at 1067 E Tabernacle, Suite 7, in St. George.
“We will meet with veterans at the Vet Center on a provisional basis,” Solomon stated in his comment, “to determine their eligibility for continued treatment.”
The center has licensed and trained counselors who also have armed forces experience, so they understand clients’ situations firsthand.
“There are services here for every group,” Solomon said. “I want this to be ground zero for veteran activities.”
Counselors emphasize the confidentiality of the center, and although they are associated with other VA facilities, the only people who have access to records are the counselors and the clients. This way, those seeking help and support do not need to worry about it affecting their eligibility for promotions or their status in their respective units; they can simply get worry-free help with PTSD and other combat-related psychological conditions.
Veterans, families of veterans, and members of the community who know veterans are all encouraged to help and support those returning from combat to readjust to civilian life. Being aware of professional help to offer is essential for those who want to help, but may not understand how.
“Seeking out help is not a sign of weakness, but it is a sign of strength and courage.” Team leader Tim Adams said. “In battle courage meant risking my life for my country, and when I return home courage means asking for help.”
The biggest step is asking for help, and knowing St. George has resources available, with professional care, is that help that veterans and their families need. Be sensitive to their past, and help them move strongly into their future.
The St. George Vet Center is located at 1664 S. Dixie Dr. Suite C-102. They can also be reached by phone at 435-673-4494. A mobile vet center (MVC) is also available to aid the community that is fitted with communication and support equipment.
Please enjoy our Photo Gallery of the Grand Opening:
REVISED – Sept. 23, 2012 – Readjustment counselor Bruce Solomon of the VA clarified and answered questions raised in the comment thread to this article. The article has accordingly been revised to include Solomon’s clarification and augmentation.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.