Vet Centers were established 42 years ago by Congress on June 13, 1979, to support the significant number of Vietnam-era Veterans who were not accessing VA services at the same levels as Korean and World War II Veterans.
By 1983, Vet Centers became a permanent fixture in the Veterans health landscape. Leadership added readjustment counseling as a new category of service.
Early on, Vet Centers recognized the power of building community with each other and creating support structures in the larger community to ensure a successful transition or reintegration.
They worked to establish services for family members of Veterans. Services include family and marriage counseling and bereavement counseling for the surviving family members of active service members who died while on active duty.
Mobile Vet Centers on the road in 2009
In 2009, the first Mobile Vet Center hit the road, expanding services into other, and often more remote, communities.
Over the past 42 years, Vet Centers have also extended eligibility to:
- Veterans and service members of all armed conflicts, wars, areas of hostility.
- MST survivors.
- Those serving in the National Guard, including deployments for state declared disasters or emergencies.
- Those in the Coast Guard that provided drug interdiction services.
Vet Centers are evolving to meet the needs of Veterans, service members and their families through individual, group, couples and family counseling, and referral services.
Pictured above is a (pre-COVID) group counseling session at a Vet Center.
They excel at reducing barriers to care by bringing services to them. This is done through virtual means, Mobile Vet Centers, points of care with community partnerships, and more.
2000 team members in 50 states
Today, confidential readjustment counseling services are provided at 300 Vet Centers, 83 mobile Vet Centers, numerous outstations, and community access points. Counseling is also available 24/7 through the Vet Center Call Center.
There are roughly 2,000 Vet Center team members and support staff in all 50 states and U.S. territories. They are ready to make connections, foster camaraderie, and increase community support for those we serve.
Vet Center staff represent a dedicated continuing commitment to our nation’s heroes and their families.
Jessica Schiefer is the communications officer for the VA Readjustment Counseling Service.