Military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and other mental health problems now have one less thing to worry about. Instead of having to make the drive to Rogers or Fayetteville, they can get individual or group Veterans Affairs (VA) counseling close to home at American Legion Post 9 (the Walker Wilson Post), at the junction of Hwys. 187 and 23 North between Holiday Island and Eureka Springs.
VA Readjustment Counselor and Clinical Care Coordinator Jason Cates with the Fayetteville VA Vet Center, said services will be available from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month.
“Veterans can call the Vet Center at (479) 582-7152 for more information or to make an appointment,” Cates said. “We gather information at first so we have a good idea of what the veteran is experiencing. Veterans can then engage in group, marital or individual therapy sessions.”
Cates said veterans should bring a copy of their DD214 form to help establish combat veteran status.
PTSD is a mental health condition caused by experiencing a traumatic or terrifying event or series of events. Symptoms can include severe anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks and obsessive thoughts about the event. PTSD is sometimes triggered by circumstances in our daily lives. It can be caused by traumatic experiences in a combat environment, as well as experiences from services as a first responder, police officer or firefighter.
Cates said it’s common for veterans who have returned from the Vietnam War, or the more recent wars in the Middle East, to have readjustment concerns. Cates said the services are being offered to combat veterans, veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma, and military first responders. He said they hope to get a working support group established in the Eureka Springs area.
“There is a need in your area based on what we have been able to discover,” Cates said. “We want to establish a larger footprint and provide services to those veterans who may need them. We provide services in a 13-county area that includes Ozark, Fort Smith, Van Buren, Alma, Mountain Home and Harrison. We also provide services in Rogers and Siloam Springs. Now we can provide services in the Eureka Springs and Holiday Island area. One of the most challenging parts is letting veterans know we are here.
“We work with veterans to help them better adjust to life outside of the military through individual and group therapy. Counseling helps in both individual and group therapy and I have seen significant positive results with the veterans I’ve worked with.”
Chuck Welch, finance officer for American Legion Post 9, said they are happy to have their building used for this type of function.
“We look forward to hosting this service,” Welch said. “We know we have many veterans in the area and it serves them well not to travel an hour and half to Fayetteville.”