Where do you go when you return from combat and need help readjusting to civilian life? These Veterans found that Vet Centers – VA’s storefront centers staffed by combat Veterans who understand what it’s like to transition – helped them the most. There, they got connected to community resources, VA benefits and services, and found someone to listen to their experiences. Here are some of their thoughts:

Candace

What I was really experiencing was just a hard time readjusting. I really just needed to talk to somebody, I think.

Jason

I definitely ended up going through a lot of bouts of depression and PTSD. And I definitely had a hard time.

Karl

When I Google-searched “Veterans services” near Los Angeles, the first thing that came up was the Vet Center.

Jeffrey

Jeffrey

What I like the most about going to the Vet Center is that I was with like-minded people. I was with people that I know have been through similar things that I’ve been through. Going in and getting counseling from VA… and realizing that you can get help is the most important thing.

Karl

Vet Centers are really the best-kept secret within VA. It’s just one of those community resources that don’t get publicized as much as other programs.

Candace

Candace

They’re small. They’re community based. Most of the counselors have also served in a combat zone. When you call, you talk to a live person. You can get in right away. It’s help with no hassle.

(Eligibility for Vet Centers has expanded greatly since the interview was recorded. To find out whether you are eligible, go to www.vetcenter.va.gov and click on eligibility.)

Jeffrey

You can have group counseling. If you’re married or you have a significant other, you can have your significant other come in there for free counseling. There’s financial management aid there. They have representatives from different organizations come down there and help you with your claims, or compensation and pension, or any other issues that you’re having.

Candace

Eligibility for a Vet Center is any Veteran who has served in a combat zone as well as their family members, as well as any Veteran – male or female – who has experienced military sexual trauma [or] bereavement, which is the family members of Veterans who have died on active duty.

(Eligibility for Vet Centers has expanded greatly since the interview was recorded. To find out whether you are eligible, go to www.vetcenter.va.gov and click on eligibility.)

Peter

The Vet Center is there to serve you. They tell you about your benefits. They provide both physical and sociological guidance.

Jason

Jason

It was another Veteran talking to me, so I felt like he understood a lot – where I came from and the combat experience. We had a brotherhood there, being with another Veteran talking to you instead of a therapist that really doesn’t know anything about war and combat.

Candace

Vet Center counselors know what it’s like to adjust and transition back to the civilian world, so they can relate. And sometimes people just need somebody to relate to them.

Dave

I’m taking action for my well-being.

Jeffrey

You walk into the Vet Center. There’s going to be someone right there. They’re going to ask you what’s going on and they’re going to help you out. Period.

Listen to these stories of these Veterans and share them on social media.

Apply for VA health care

Enrolling for VA health care is easier than ever before. Explore your eligibility today at www.choose.va.gov/health.

By Bronwyn Emmet is a public affairs specialist for the National Veterans Outreach Office

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Published on Feb. 16, 2022

Estimated reading time is 3.1 min.

Views to date: 1,216

6 Comments

  1. Lopez March 11, 2022 at 12:07 am

    How about the radioman who served on ships with hearing loss affecting their lives? Loss of hearing is a loss of a sense and is debilitating and also should be evaluated for compensation. Older ships especially contain carcinogens that should be evaluated for any cancers diagnosed due to time served on them too

  2. Dr. Denise Cardin Abney February 17, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Vet Centers also serve veterans who have experienced SEXUAL ASSAULT / MST = Military Sexual Assault!!!! They also suffer from PTSD!! You neglected to inform veterans of this. You neglected to use key words that reference this fact. How is the VA serving veterans if they neglect to inform them of their services. I worked for the VA for 20 years. This is not news to me but it is for women who are looking for help and especially those who can’t bear to be in large clinics with a lot of men. ???

  3. Nancy Re February 17, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    The VA website does not say COMBAT, however this does. Please explain why a Vet with PTSD can not be served if he was not boots o the ground?
    Vet Center Eligibility
    All Veterans are encouraged to seek Vet Center services. Any Veterans and current service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve components, are eligible if any of the following applies:

    Have served on active military duty in any combat theater or area of hostility∗ (see footnote)

    Experienced a military sexual trauma (regardless of gender or service era)

    Provided mortuary services or direct emergent medical care to treat the casualties of war while serving on active military duty

    Performed as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to operations in a combat theater or area of hostility

    Accessed care at a Vet Center prior to Jan. 2, 2013, as a Vietnam-Era Veteran

    Served on active military duty in response to a national emergency or major disaster declared by the president, or under orders of the governor or chief executive of a state in response to a disaster or civil disorder in that state

    Are a current or former member of the Coast Guard who participated in a drug interdiction operation, regardless of the location

    Are a current member of the Reserve Components assigned to a military command in a drilling status, including active Reserves, who has a behavioral health condition or psychological trauma related to military service that adversely effects quality of life or adjustment to civilian life.
    Please contact us, as our eligibility may expand. If we are unable to help you, we will find someone who can. Our services are also available to family members when their participation would support the growth and goals of the Veteran or service member. If you consider them family, so do we. We also offer bereavement services to family members of Veterans who were receiving Vet Center services at the time of the Veteran’s death, and to the families of service members who died while serving on active duty.

    ∗ Service in combat theater or area of hostility to include but not limited to:
    World War II
    (including American Merchant Marines)
    Korean War
    Vietnam War
    Lebanon
    Grenada
    Desert Storm/ Desert Shield
    Bosnia Kosovo
    Operations in the former Yugoslavia area
    Global War on Terrorism
    Operation Enduring Freedom
    Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
    Operation Iraqi Freedom
    Operation New Dawn

  4. Kevin Edwards February 17, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Loved the Vet Center I went to in Orange County CA. It was great to be able to obtain services without limitations. The video nails down exactly my experience. The VA Hospital took 3 to 4 months to get into their program. I was seen within a week at the Vet Center.

  5. willie garnett February 17, 2022 at 11:56 am

    1971-2013 va hospital centers etc. useless had arthritis of back knees (still do), what they do nada zip. so drag leg around cause of pain 1970 sum sum in agent orange lawsuit what get, zip nada. 2009 somewhere there say go va hospital no questions asked get back compensation for afore mentioned . what get nada zip. my compny leonard wood nam hawaii ala cant find no where on line . even contacted schofield barracks zip. 83rd engineers
    willie garnett

  6. Steve Eward February 16, 2022 at 10:11 pm

    While much of what is presented in these emails is informative, I for one, would like to see advice on how to deal with Community Care and other choke points we veterans encounter in our attempts to obtain health care within and outside of VA FACILITIES. Wait times are outrageous on all facets of Community Cares areas of responsibility. Can you help keep we veterans informed better of our options when Community Care drops the ball?

Comments are closed.

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