Vet Centers of America Search by ZIP CODE

There are more than 300 Vet Centers across the United States and U.S. Territories whose primary function is to help veterans and their families adjust to civilian life after combat.

Vet Centers help overwhelmed VA hospitals by providing Veterans with valuable services such as counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Military Sexual Trauma, bereavement counseling, marriage and family counseling, and resources like VA benefits information and suicide prevention referrals.

To search by zip code for a Vet Center in your area click here

If you do not find a Vet Center near you, check out the Mobile Vet Centers.  There are 50 motorized vehicles – resembling super-sized recreational vehicles – that are driven to far-reaching rural areas as part of an “On the Road” outreach program

Hidden Wounds Provides Relief for Combat Stress Faster than VA

The mission of Hidden Wounds is to provide peace of mind and comfort for military personnel suffering from combat stress injuries such as PTSD and TBI until the Veteran’s Administration or Veteran’s Affairs agencies can deliver long-term services to their clients through government programs.

Hidden Wounds was formed in response to a tragedy involving its founder, Anna Bigham.  Anna’s brother, Lance Corporal Mills Palmer Bigham, served four years of active duty for the United States Marine Corps.

Lcpl Bigham served two tours of duty in Iraq with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment.  He was released on October 18, 2008, with an honorable discharge and new rank, Combat Veteran.

Immediately, Anna recognized her brother was not the same young man she once knew.  Lcpl Bigham sought treatment for war trauma, depression, and anger through numerous trips to the local VA hospital. He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however he was not given the treatment he deserved.  Anna made countless phone calls to check on his status for receiving those services, but each time there was very little to no response.

Anna supported her brother, battled for the right of his treatment, and cared for him during the long and horrific nights. It was too little, and too late. Mills took his own life waiting for those services on October 19, 2009.

Here is a description of the services provided by Hidden Wounds according to their Facebook Page

-Interim Counseling
Our main thrust is to provide counseling to soldiers who are in the enrollment process at the VA, or other agencies, or system of services, but who are waiting for confirmation of availability and treatment needs. These services are available until such time as the client is finally taken into the care of the VA, or alternate agencies.

-Emergency Counseling
Referring agencies too overwhelmed to respond, and families who are suddenly faced with a crisis situation, are invited to call Hidden Wounds. Our goal is to find a counselor in our network that could respond immediately to defuse the situation. From there, Hidden Wounds, works to find a properly equipped place for the veteran to safely stay until the crisis is passed, danger is contained and further treatment can be instituted.

-Family Support
Hidden Wounds provides resource materials and information to help family members of PTSD victims deal with their concerns and knowledgably support their veteran.

-VA Strategies
Hidden Wounds can provide strategic counseling services to support the Veterans Administration in the areas of intake, assignment of benefits, required paperwork, navigating a network of personnel, and other support advice while dealing with the VA

Contact Info:

Email Address: info@hiddenwounds.org
Mailing Address: Hidden Wounds
7001 St Andrews Road PMB 323
Columbia, S.C. 29212
1-888-4HW-HERO

Description:501c3 non profit organization
General Information

1-888-4HW-HERO or 803-403-8460

Related Article: Veterans Step Forward to Report Retaliation for Whistleblowing and Lack of Support Services read more>>

Related Post: The Million Veteran March on the VA read more>>

Veterans Connection for Help & Healing from Real Veterans

Maketheconnection.net connects Veterans and their friends and family members with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their health, well-being, and everyday lives.

Visit Maketheconnection.net to hear inspiring stories of strength. Learn what has worked for other Veterans, and discover positive steps that you can take after military service—all in the words of Veterans just like you.

View in-depth stories and testimonials of strength and connection as real Veterans recount their paths from joining the military to facing adversity, reaching out, and moving toward resilience and recovery.

Connect and discuss topics like anger and irritability, alcohol abuse, drug problems, flashbacks, headaches, nightmares, guilt, gambling, PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma, chronic pain, confusion, feeling on edge, and feelings of hopelessness…..

Connect by Life Events:

Explore life events or experiences that you can relate to and get information, stories, and resources for support.

Mt. Rainier Shooting Suspect was Military Veteran with Possible PTSD

Authorities found the body of who they believe to be Benjamin Colton Barnes, a 24 year old United States Veteran, at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State today.  The former veteran was found face-down in the snow without any I.D.   Benjamin Barnes is suspected of shooting and killing a 34-year-old female park ranger, Margaret Anderson, on Sunday morning…New Year’s Eve.

“He was wearing T-shirt, a pair of jeans and one tennis shoe. That was it,” said Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer, according to The Associated Press.

Anyone looking for triggers to this horrible incident need look no further than the recent events in the life of Benjamin Barnes.  ABC News reported that, “Barnes is a military veteran who has a history of criminal violence, including threatening the mother of his child with guns during a bitter custody battle, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.”

Why?  That’s it?  That’s all there is to this story?  I think not.

Benjamin Barnes was an Iraq War Veteran who was involved in a severe custody battle with his ex-wife in the summer of 2011.  PTSD should be ringing the bells of anyone looking for a why in this senseless killing, and everyone around him asking themselves how they failed to notice the signs.

The photo, posted by ABC News and many others, was obviously chosen to depict Benjamin Colton Barnes as some sort of gun-toting animal from the wild.  These are not the facts of his life, they cannot be!  There is more to this young man’s story that define him than the sad act that ended not only his own life, but also the suspected lives of 5 others; including the mother of two young children.

My own son, a Marine Corps veteran, is covered in similarly large tatoos.  He is also now studying to become a Catholic Priest.  My message to the world (in this blog post) is to ask why nobody noticed the signs of what had to be a fairly severe PTSD disorder compounded by the stress of recent events in his life.

Even if they find drugs in this young former soldier’s body, that will only strengthen my theory.  I pray to God every day that more people pay attention to the signs of PTSD, so just in case you’ve missed them in any of my previous blog posts, please learn about them >>HERE

Related Story: Two Navy pilots among those killed in murder-suicide

Graffiti of War Project: Soldiers Using Art to Battle PTSD

“Across 10 years, two fronts, and three million deployments, our troops have chronicled a story few could ever know.  Nearly 50,000 of them have become casualties and almost 3 times that number have battled PTSD.”

Jaeson Parsons is more than a West Virginia native and former combat medic. He is a PTSD survivor who has worked to collect nearly 10,000 pictures of graffiti artwork created by soldiers fighting overseas, mainly those in Iraq.

Murals of 911, dog tags of fighting soldiers, meaningful words in front of haunting images, are all being compiled into a book.

After injuring his back during a tour, Jaeson was forced to leave the battle ground and ended up fighting another battle at home, PTSD.

“I was drinking a lot, I was abusing drugs and in Christmas of 2009 I had to go to a VA center for mental health,” said Parsons. “It took me months before I got to the point where I just saw them (injured soldiers) as a job and not a person,” he said.

With his wife’s encouragement, he founded this project and discovered it eased his emotional pain.

Parsons said unless someone was there to experience it themselves, this (art) is one of the closest things to feeling what those fighting for our country are going through.

Parsons said the proceeds from the book will go to different organizations that help to rehabilitate soldiers suffering from “internal wounds,” like PTSD.

Donations will be directed toward programs outside of traditional therapy that use music, art or animals as pathways toward a good mindset.  For more information on how you can get involved in the “Graffiti of War” Project visit: www.GraffitiofWar. com.

Traumatic Brain Injuries in OIF/OEF: Record Number of Vets Seeking Mental Healthcare

Providence (RI) Journal : “Improved armor and advances in battlefield medicine have increased survivability for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but for some, living has come with the burden of traumatic brain injury – often described, together with posttraumatic stress disorder, as the ‘signature’ wound of the War on Terror.”

Veterans living with PTSD, which “disrupts emotion and cognitive functioning –– and which is often also seen in victims of  TBI” –– know that there is no pill or single treatment to relieve suffering. Medications can alleviate some symptoms, such as headache and insomnia, and other interventions can address memory loss and other deficits.

Number Of Vets Seeking Mental Healthcare From VA Soars:  Modern Healthcare

“The number of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq receiving mental healthcare from the Veterans Affairs Department climbed more than 300% in the five years through 2010, to 139,000 veterans, according to a new report” from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“The number of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq receiving mental healthcare from the VA as a percentage of veterans receiving any kind of healthcare from the VA, climbed to 2.66% in 2010 from 0.72% in 2006, according to GAO data. The data result from a report designed to inform members of Congress on how many veterans are receiving mental healthcare, to identify what the barriers to such care are and to identify VA’s efforts to increase veterans’ access to mental healthcare.”

Veterans and the General Public Seeking More Information:

For fact sheets, videos, and more about trauma and to help answer your questions about PTSD related issues, visit the National Center for PTSD

Related Article: Veterans’ Head Trauma Highlights Seriousness of Brain Injuries