VA to open satellite counseling center in St. Cloud

28 March 2022

A new partnership of veterans organizations is aiming to fill gaps in mental health services for veterans in central Minnesota.

The federal and state veterans affairs departments announced on Monday plans for a Vet Center Outstation in St. Cloud that will provide confidential counseling for veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, and their families.

Outstations are community-based satellites in leased spaces with rooms for individual and group counseling. The outstations complement the 300 Vet Center sites across the United States. Minnesota has three Vet Centers — Anoka, Duluth and St. Paul — and St. Cloud’s outstation will be under the branch of the Anoka site.

“Veterans and service members trust in Vet Centers to provide connection, confidential counseling and community,” said Steven Lieberman of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “We remain committed to ensure these life-changing services are convenient and accessible.”

The St. Cloud VA Medical Center also offers inpatient and outpatient counseling services. But Vet Centers were designed to provide mental health services in environments that are as nonclinical as possible, according to VA administrators. The centers are staffed by psychologists and social workers who have specialized training to deal with challenges associated with combat veterans, such as post traumatic stress disorder.

The new outstation will help expand services to veterans in outstate Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz said in a news release.

“As a veteran, I recognize the obligation we have as a state and a country to deliver on the benefits our veterans have earned, including mental health care when they come home,” Walz said.

The VA is aiming to open the outstation in spring 2024, allowing a year to 18 months to procure a lease and an additional six to eight months to build out the site.

This post was originally published on this site

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