Beginning Feb. 3, active-duty service members who served in a combat or war zone will be able to get counseling at the Killeen-Heights Vet Center at 302 Millers Crossing.
The new service is a requirement of the “Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010,” said Dr. Robert Gombeski, the center’s team leader.
“We don’t know what type of numbers we’ll get,” he said.
To be prepared, the center hired a new clinical social worker and increased its staff to 10.
“We’re interested to see the impact this will have,” Gombeski said. “We just don’t know because it’s never been done before.”
Services will include individual, group and family readjustment counseling to assist active-duty service members in making a successful transition from combat, to garrison, or civilian life; post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and help with other related problems that affect functioning within the family, work, school or other areas of everyday life; and military sexual-trauma counseling for active-duty service members of both genders.
Service members will be required to provide documentation by their third visit, indicating they have served in a combat or war zone to continue counseling, according to the center’s news release.
A copy of one of the following documents will meet this requirement: deployment demobilization order, enlisted record brief, officer record brief, or an award citation indicating the service member served in a combat zone.
These services also are available to family members of active-duty combat service members as well as any combat veteran. For those concerned about privacy issues, Gombeski said the center doesn’t release any information from sessions to Veterans Affairs or the military without written consent, unless necessary to avert a crisis.
In addition to its regular operating hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, the KHVC has extended hours Monday through Thursday until 7 p.m. Beginning Feb. 1, the center will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
For more information, call 254-953-7100.
Rose L. Thayer contributed to this article.