Free Mental Health Support for Vets

by Press Release-Burlington County | Dec 20, 2004
Free Mental Health Support for Vets Rep. H. James Saxton (NJ 3rd) announced that veterans and military personnel will be able to receive free mental health counseling at the County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in Westampton without having to travel to Philadelphia, Trenton or Fort Dix.

Freeholder Director Vincent R. Farias announced a new and vital service for Burlington County residents who are veterans or currently serving in the military.

“Free counseling services are to be offered here in the County," Farias said. “Instead of taking our veterans or active military personnel to counselors at the VA Clinic in Philadelphia, we will bring the counselors to them.’’

Currently, mental health counseling is provided only at the Fort Dix Outpatient Clinic and the Veterans Administration Clinic in Philadelphia by appointment only.

Beginning January 12, 2005, certified counselors will be made available three times a week at the County Department of Military and Veterans Services by appointment only on the first floor of the Human Services Facility at 795 Woodlane Road in Westampton.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder appointments will be accepted for Wednesday nights, from 7-9 p.m. Appointments to assist in Readjustment will be accepted for Thursday nights, 7-9 p.m.

Female counselors will be available by appointment on Tuesdays from 2-5 p.m. to assist on all issues, including drug/alcohol/sexual abuse, but particularly to help female soldiers or family members with personal issues they would feel more comfortable sharing with a female counselor.

"We hope this will be a significant convenience for our veterans,’’ said Rep. H. James Saxton (R-3rd), a member of the House Armed Forces Committee. “It should save them a lot of time and travel expenses.’’

"We always need to be on the lookout for more ways like this where we can improve services for veterans,’’ he added. “This is a case of bringing the service to the veteran, rather than sending a veteran to the service."

Podietz stressed that counseling sessions will be by appointment only, and for individual or group counseling for veterans and active military.

Qualified military (county residents) can make appointments for the counseling sessions by calling 609-265-5008.

“Counseling is one of the most requested services in our office,’’ Podietz said. “The Freeholders recently expanded and renovated the Department of Military and Veterans Services, and we will be able to provide this service while maintaining privacy for our veterans right here in our office.’’

According to figures released by the New Jersey Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, Burlington County processed more than 1,200 claims in 2003, which represented 35 percent of all the claims processed at all 15 offices in the state.

Those 1,200 claims resulted in slightly less than $3 million in benefits being paid to veterans or their families.

Through the Department of Military and Veterans Services, the County also provides free transportation for veterans to and from the VA Clinic in Philadelphia from three staging areas in the County three days a week.

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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