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Help available for veterans

Veterans who may feel in need of extra help lately have a lifeline available in the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

The board covers Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, Franklin and Southampton County directly and also is responsible for regional crisis services in all of Southeastern Virginia, according to Brandon Rodgers, director of operations for the WTCSB.

Rodgers said the WTCSB has seen an increase of veterans in need of help recently, especially as 13 service members died during an August attack at the Kabul airport during the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, approaches.

“I think we’re definitely seeing an increase in presentation of anxiety and depression,” Rodgers said. “You have folks that have come back and they’ve worked hard with the mission the United States had in Afghanistan, and to see a lot of that fall apart, it’s very triggering. It’s been pretty difficult for some of our veterans.”

The Western Tidewater Community Services Board has a number of ways it can assist veterans.

“I think reaching out and getting help is probably the best resource, because there’s people available to talk,” Rodgers said. “We employ a full line of licensed counselors, and we have mobile crisis services so we can actually send staff out to people for help.”

The WTCSB also has telehealth services, peer support services and more, Rodgers added. “We’re going to build a treatment plan based on what the person needs.” Not just mental health treatment but also help with finances, housing and other issues can all be managed through the WTCSB.

“Case management is pretty good at helping with those things,” Rodgers said.

For the next few months, all outpatient services are free to anybody who served in Afghanistan, Rodgers said. Typically, and for any other veteran or anyone who needs help, there is a sliding fee scale, and insurance companies can be billed.

Rodgers said the WTCSB is also constantly doing training on how to help veterans as well as active-duty service members and family members.

People who need help can call the WTCSB same-day access line at 757-758-5106; the regional 24/7 crisis line at 888-255-2989; or a national help line at 800-273-8255, press 1.