Waco: Veterans One Stop helping veterans adjust to post-pandemic life

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 8:22 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Life is returning to normal as COVID cases continue to drop, but people, especially veterans, could struggle to get back into that old routine. However, there is plenty of help available in the community and around the state.

Veterans One Stop, part of the Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center, is one option for veterans. At the one stop, counselors are helping veterans with any struggles they may have readjusting with weekly counseling sessions on a variety of topics and other classes like art therapy and mindfulness.

Rachel Mims, a counselor at veteran’s one stop, said PTSD is a common ailment for veterans, and isolation is a often a symptom. Before the pandemic, Mims said when they worked with veterans suffering from PTSD, they often encouraged them to get out around other people and into the community.

When the pandemic began, that was no longer an option, and Mims said that could have caused veterans to fall back into those isolating habits.

Now that restrictions are lifted, Mims said it can be a difficult time for anyone to adjust back to normal life. She added that needing help doesn’t mean people failed.

“Reaching out for help and support doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be in services for a really long time,” Mims said. “It just means that you want someone to talk to, and we’re here for that.”

June is also Texas Veterans Suicide Prevention and PTSD Awareness month, and the Health and Human Services Commission is urging veterans to reach out for help if they need it. Veterans One Stop can be reached at 254-297-7171, and there is more information about available resources online.

In addition to the resources at the Veterans One Stop, the state offers several avenues for help. Veterans can call the veterans crisis line at 800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255, or chat online at veteranscrisisline.Net/chat.

Additionally, the Health and Human Services Commission partners with the Texas Veterans Commission to offer the Mental Health Program for Veterans, which funds peer-to-peer counseling for veterans and their families.

Veterans can also get help navigating the resources in their communities through the TexVet initiative.

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