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VA Plans To Open Vet Center In Helena

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is opening a Vet Center this fall in Helena. Unlike larger VA medical clinics, Vet Centers only counsel returning combat veterans and military sexual trauma victims.

The VA’s John Woods – a veteran himself – says most employees are themselves combat vets.

"Clients have told me that it really feels good to come here and talk to somebody that I know has served in the military, or even somebody who’s served in Iraq. They can identify with you and same for us as counselors, we can identify with the clients we’re trying to serve."

Vet Center services include mental health screenings, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol assistance, education training and employment assistance. They also provide services to military families.

Vet Centers are currently operating in four Montana cities; Billings, Missoula, Great Falls and Kalispell. The Helena Vet Center is expected to open in late August or early September.

Montana’s entire congressional delegation praised the VA announcement.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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