JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – The Steven A. Cohen military family clinic & Hope for the Warriors foundation held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.
The organization has been open for a year but postponed the grand opening celebration due to the pandemic.
CEO Anthony Hassan explained the organization was still able to retain 91% of its clientele despite the challenges from COVID-19.
“We didn’t skip a beat. This clinic is open virtually so it really speaks to the power of Telehealth. Telehealth clinical care is giving us the same outcomes that we would get in person, but Telehealth isn’t for everyone so that’s why I’m thrilled to see the clinic open because many people still want in-person care or a hybrid approach to care,” said Hassan
According to their website, the Cohen veterans clinic gets 94% of their clients the help they need when they need it.
A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the Department of Veteran Affairs study shows 1.7 million Veterans have a mental health need.
Eric Sowers, a Marine Veteran, and Jacksonville resident is someone who says he battled with mental health for years and has seen the impacts the center has.
“I mean I was punching holes in walls. I was freaking losing my temper like crazy,” he said.
Sowers sought out mental health therapy and was able to write a children’s poetry book to further cope with his trauma and to help others.
“I want to drive home that people they’re not alone and if they need help there’s help. They can get better,” said Sowers.
Hope for the Warriors president Robin Kelleher’s husband used to be stationed in Jacksonville and explained the significance for her and her family opening this location.
“To be able to provide this to the community that I fell in love with is so special and it makes me feel we’ve left something good behind,” she said.
Kelleher explained 70% of their staff are former active duty service members, and this helps to add to the familiarity that makes Veterans and their families come to seek help.
“It takes about two seconds,” Kelleher said, “for military families to connect with each other you don’t even ever have to say I understand where you’ve been there is that — even a look in the eye — and once military families know your military family and you’ve been there that trust is inherent.”
“The more we talk about it the more we break down barriers and we normalize it just like every day all the rest of the other physical health that we talk about,” said Medal of Honor recipient and Cohen Veteran’s Network ambassador Ryan Pitts.
The organization offers therapy for anxiety, PTSD, depression, anger, grief, transitional issues, relationship issues, and child behavioral issues. The therapists allow clients to look at the notes taken while in session on TV monitors in the patient rooms in an effort to improve transparency and patient-client rapport.
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