Nacogdoches picked as pilot site to provide more mental health treatment for veterans

Other pilot sites include facilities in Tyler, Waco, Abilene, Round Rock and Edinburg

Nacogdoches picked as pilot site to provide more mental health treatment for veterans
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has selected six cities to participate in a pilot project to increase veterans' access to clinical mental health treatment. Nacogdoches and Tyler are two of those cities. (Khyati Patel/KTRE Multimedia Journalist)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has selected six cities to participate in a pilot project to increase veterans' access to clinical mental health treatment.

Nacogdoches and Tyler are two of those cities.

"I think the number one thing that helps and that helped me was a support system," said Jeff Headrick, a peer services coordinator with the Burke Center.

He said he has seen veterans receive counseling and benefits from peer to peer networking.

A veteran himself, Headrick said there's a need for resources and support for veterans, military service members and their families.

"It's not like when you leave the service, especially a conflict, you feel like, because of what you did for your country that jobs and things like that are just going to welcome you back. It's not always like that," Headrick said.

A recent initiative by the Texas Health and Human Services aims to increase access to clinical mental health treatment.

“I’m one of six therapist in Texas right now,” said Deidra James, a licensed professional counselor.

The program launched in rural areas of Texas and aims to hire more counselors specialized in working with veterans.

Those licensed mental health providers are trained in military-related trauma care such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, and moral injury.

James explains this initiative will fill a void.

"This meets one of those needs where I can go to them to provide licensed evidenced based therapy to help them with trauma symptoms, depression, anxiety things like that," James said.

Veterans interested in the program should are asked to contact either the Lufkin or Nacogdoches Burke Centers or Andrews Center Behavioral Healthcare System in Tyler.

Copyright 2019 KTRE. All rights reserved.