Category Archives: Veterans

What are Vet Centers?

Vet Center logo with drop shadow effect

Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers, providing social and psychological services including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans and active duty service members, to include members of the National Guard and Reserve components and their families.

Vet Centers also play a significant role in VA’s Emergency Response mission to assist communities. MVCs and Vet Center staff deploy in response to shootings and support emergency response efforts to natural disasters and wild fires.

Who is eligible?

Veterans and active duty service members who:

* Have served on active military duty in any combat theater or area of hostility;
* Experienced a military sexual trauma (MST)
* Provided direct emergent medical care or mortuary services to the casualties of war, while serving on active duty, or
* Served as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to operations in a combat zone or area of hostility
* Vietnam Era Veterans who accessed care at a Vet Center prior to January 1, 2004.

Vet Center services are also provided to family members or loved ones of Veterans and service members for military-related issues when it is found to aid in the readjustment of those that served, or to help cope with the deployment of the service member. This includes marriage and family counseling and bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.

What makes Vet Centers unique?

Non-traditional hours (including evenings and weekends), services without time limitation and at no charge. Individuals do not need to be enrolled in VA Healthcare Services, do not need a disability rating or service connection and can access Vet Center services regardless of discharge character.

What makes Vet Centers different than VA’s Mental Health?

While Vet Centers are not a part Mental Health in the VAMCs, they are connected through coordination and bi-directional referral. Vet Center staff are licensed professionals who offer a non-medical approach to counseling and do not provide medication management.

How do Vet Centers reach Veterans and service members?

Outreach specialists and counselors participate in a myriad of outreach events in local communities and host various events in order to create face to face connections and get eligible individuals connected to Vet Center Services.

80 Mobile Vet Centers are on the road or out in the community, extending the reach of Vet Centers through focused outreach, direct service provision and referral. Many of these communities are distant from existing services and are considered rural or highly rural.

How can I refer someone to a Vet Center for services?

If you think someone may benefit from Vet Center services, please call your nearest Vet Center or encourage the Veteran or service member to call or stop in.

Lancaster Vet Center

Harrisburg Vet Center


 

“Sexual assault in the military … “

mil sex assault

“is a problem widely recognized but poorly understood. Elected officials and Pentagon leaders have tended to focus on the thousands of women who have been preyed upon while in uniform. But over the years, more of the victims have been men.

“On average, about 10,000 men are sexually assaulted in the American military each year, according to Pentagon statistics. Overwhelmingly, the victims are young and low-ranking. Many struggle afterward, are kicked out of the military and have trouble finding their footing in civilian life.

“For decades, the fallout from the vast majority of male sexual assaults in uniform was silence: Silence of victims too humiliated to report the crime, silence of authorities unequipped to pursue it, silence of commands that believed no problem existed, and silence of families too ashamed to protest.”

Read this report in its entirety at The New York Times.

Millersville University offers two presentations that veterans can appreciate.

MU programs for veteransfor free tickets to these productions.

The Interpreters – On Screen/In Person | September 26, 2019 @ 7:00 PM

“At War: The first Marine in my battalion to die by suicide” – The New York Times

by Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Domestic Correspondent

My battalion’s mortar platoon lived on the bottom floor of the barracks at Camp Lejeune and those Marines were always a pain. But they were good at their jobs and on the weekends, when the weather was good, they would have a barbecue down by the smoke pit.

marinesMarines from First Battalion, Sixth Marines rest between patrols during the battle for Marjah, Afghanistan, in February 2010.” via Thomas Gibbons-Neff

Tim Ryan was one of those mortarmen. He had a thick Boston accent, and one time I ran into him at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. I think it was predeployment leave. We were both flying to Boston, and he was on an earlier flight. But when they announced the boarding process, he barely moved from the airport bar. He had been drinking alone most of the afternoon, so I helped him up and did what I could to get him to his gate. He was happy to be going home.

Tim was the first Marine in our battalion who killed himself after our unit got back from Afghanistan in July 2010. He was 23, and he died on May 7, 2011. He would not be the last. From then on, it seemed like every six months someone we knew died. In total, at least nine Marines from my unit have died since coming back from that deployment.

Two months before Tim there was Joey Schiano, a Marine from my battalion with whom I shared a recruiter in Connecticut. He wrapped his Volkswagen around a tree.

Soon, my friends and I were in a never-ending pursuit, trying to understand why our friends were dying long after we had returned from overseas. It’s a question we still haven’t been able to answer, nor it seems has anyone in the military or veterans community.

In 2018, 321 active-duty members took their lives: 57 Marines, 68 sailors, 58 airmen and 138 soldiers, according to Military.com. The total was the same as 2012, which was the Continue reading →

“Why women veterans are more likely than civilian women to commit suicide” – Military Times

women veterans“The Women in Military Service to America Memorial, the only national museum honoring military women, celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct. 20, 2012. (Veterans Affairs)”

by Kate Henricks Thomas and Kyleanne Hunter

After four years on active duty, Amy left the Army and moved back to her hometown.

“However, she struggled to find her tribe. At work, she was told her handshake was a bit too firm and lectured about how her direct communication style made her coworkers uncomfortable. At her local VFW bar, the men stopped talking to stare at her, and her attempts to connect were met with awkward silences. A few other attempts to connect with the veteran communities she saw advertised at the VA and Facebook left her feeling similarly displaced.

“‘In both civilian settings and veteran settings, I was “weird,”’ she recalls.

She explored some of the newer veteran service organizations (VSOs), but most failed to include child care or weren’t kid-friendly. Amy was a single parent, so she mentally crossed those options off her list too. She stayed lonely, and slowly sank into a deep depression.

“The very word ‘veteran’ calls to mind the image of a man — particularly a male combat veteran.”

Continue reading this article at Military Times, click here.

Older Veteran Behavioral Health Resource Inventory

older veterans

This inventory lists resources for health and social service professionals interested in enhancing their outreach and support for older Veterans and other older adults who have or are at risk for behavioral health conditions. It covers resources on topics including post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, long term services and supports, and more.

This entry has been updated to include the 2019 edition of the Inventory.

A look at Pennsylvania”s veteran population | Memorial Day PA, 20

veterans in pa

“AARP has published the 2019 Veterans in America Infographics. The infographics contain demographic data as well as data on veteran’s health and well-being, including use of the Veterans Administration for healthcare services. Each individual state has its own infographic which profiles veterans in that state.”

The Veteran Population Projection Model process includes blending data from various data sources to produce Veteran counts at the national, state and below state levels for certain demographics. It includes projecting the number of Veteran records out into the future for 30-years. The projeced Veteran population is both declining in number and becoming more evenly distributed in age. Whereas the annual change for the total Veteran population is -1.8 percent per year and the male Veteran population is -2.2 percent per year, the annual change to the female Veteran population is +0.6 percent per year. May 10, 2019

veterans mem day 2019

 

 

announcing a Military Intership Program

military internship

 

May 10 | Building the Bridge | Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center mini-summit for veterans, caregivers, family members, community providers and VA providers | Register now.

building the bridge

FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2019 – 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM EDT

at Penn State Berks Campus, Tulpehocken RoadReadingPennsylvania 19610

REGISTER HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/building-the-bridge-berks-schuylkill-counties-tickets-56566077661

“No Veteran Dies Along” Program at the VA Medical Center | Volunteers wanted.

no veteran dies alone

A training program for the Veterans Affairs “No Veteran Dies Alone Program” will be held at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lebanon on June 11. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering to be a part of this supportive program, get in touch with Rebecca Sanders, LCSW, CADC, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Chaplain Service / EAP, Lebanon VA Medical Center, 717-272-6621 ext. 3437 ∗ 717-844-1628 (cell). Email: Rebecca.Sanders@va.gov.

There is a application to complete with voluntary services and fingerprinting.

Click on the above graphic to download the entire brochure as a .pdf file.