Vet Centers provide readjustment counseling and outreach services to all veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members for military-related issues. Veterans have earned these benefits through their service and all are provided at no cost to the veteran or family member.
The Vet Center Program was established by Congress in 1979 out of the recognition that a significant number of Vietnam era vets were still experiencing readjustment problems. Vet Centers are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Since then, Congress has extended the eligibility to veterans who served in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Kosovo and Bosnia, WWII and Korea, as well as veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and subsequent operations within the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).
Family members of all veterans listed above are eligible for Vet Center services as well. In 2003 Vet Centers were authorized to furnish bereavement counseling services to surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members who die of any cause while on active duty, to include federally activated Reserve and National Guard personnel.
Vet Centers specialize in the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulting from combat and other war-related traumatic experiences. Common symptoms include: anxiety, depression, isolation, flashbacks, recurrent traumatic memories, uncontrollable anger, nightmares, sleep difficulties, hyper-alertness, survivor guilt, emotional numbing and alcohol or drug use. The Vet Center provides the following services:
Services are FREE and Confidential for all veterans, family members and significant others (for military-related issues). Vet Center staff are professionals trained in counseling combat veterans and trauma victims.