Vet Centers Provide Reintegration Support for Warriors
Serving our nation in conflict environments in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere around the globe can be challenging for even the most prepared individuals. In fact, it is common for veterans to experience concerns related to readjustment issues after returning home and while reintegrating into civilian life. That’s why the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides support for combat veterans and their families at community-based counseling facilities called Vet Centers.
What Services Are Available at Your Local Vet Center?
These community-based VA programs provide readjustment counseling to veterans who have served in combat zones. Specifically, Vet Centers offer the following services to help veterans thrive:1
- Individual and group counseling for veterans and their families
- Family counseling for military-related issues
- Bereavement counseling for families who experience the death of a loved one serving on active duty
- Military sexual trauma counseling and referrals
- Outreach and education at military and community events such as post-deployment health reassessments and Veterans Musters.
- Substance abuse assessment and referral
- Employment assessment and referral
- Benefits explanation and referral
- Screening and referral for medical and psychological issues including traumatic brain injury, depression and other psychological health concerns.
All Combat Veterans and Their Families Are Eligible
All services are prepaid through military service and available throughout the lifetime of the veteran.2 Also, veterans are not required to have enrolled with a VA Medical Center for medical treatment in order to access Vet Center services. Simply put: If you or a family member served in any combat zone and received a military campaign ribbon, then you are eligible for Vet Center services.
Vet Center Staff Understand
Watch Veterans Talk About Getting Support at Vet CentersThis video public service announcement shows how Vet Centers provide free readjustment services for warriors who served our nation in combat.
Vet Center staff are combat veterans from several eras and family members of combat veterans. Approximately 35 percent of the total staff served in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.3 This means that the men and women you will encounter when you step up to seek help understand what it’s like to serve. Moreover, the staff members at each Vet Center have connections within their communities so they can refer veterans to other services if needed.
Your Personal Information Will Be Kept Private
The staff at your local Vet Center understands that privacy and discretion are important when addressing issues related to psychological health or traumatic brain injury. That’s why Vet Center policies state that no one will have access to your information — including treatment notes — without written consent, unless it is necessary to avoid a crisis. Even VA Medical Centers cannot view those records without this written consent. For more detailed information about your privacy, contact your local Vet Center today.
How to Contact Your Local Vet Center
There are 292 Vet Centers located in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.4 There are two ways to contact a Vet Center near you:
- Use your zip code to search for one on the VA website.
- Call the Readjustment Counseling Service Combat Call Center at 877-WAR-VETS (927-8387). Veterans and their family members can contact this national call center 24/7 to talk to another combat Veteran or spouse of a veteran regarding any readjustment issues related to their military service or to help locate a Vet Center near them.
Remember, the services offered at your local Vet Center are prepaid through military service and private for all combat veterans and their families. So if you need support while you reintegrate into civilian life, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Communicate with other veterans at the Real Warriors Message Boards.
Log on to Real Warriors Live Chat or call 866-966-1020 to speak to a trained health resource consultant at the DCoE Outreach Center. Free, confidential assistance finding resources for psychological health and traumatic brain injury concerns is available 24/7.
1 "Services," Department of Veterans Affairs. Last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
2 "Eligibility," Department of Veterans Affairs. Last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
3 "2011 Career Achievement Medal Recipient: Alfonso Batres," The Samuel H. Heyman Service to America Medals. Last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
4 "Vet Centers Directory," Department of Veterans Affairs. Last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.