County needs provider for readjustment counseling services

The Vet Center program was established by Congress in 1979 out of recognition that significant numbers of Vietnam Era veterans were experiencing readjustment problems. Congress later extended this service to those who served during any war period, from World War II to our current conflicts.

Vet centers are community-based and are part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services to eligible veterans to help them make a satisfying postwar readjustment to civilian life.

With the closing of the Pathfinder Clinic some time ago, La Plata County has lost its contracted Vet Center provider and desperately needs a new provider who will be willing to work with veterans, contract with the Colorado Vet Center and provide these much-needed services. Providers must be willing to work closely with the Durango VA Clinic staff to provide a well-grounded counseling benefits package for veterans who need of these services.

Vet Center staff members respect the privacy of all veterans and hold in strictest confidence all information disclosed in the counseling process. Family members of combat veterans have been eligible for Vet Center readjustment counseling services for military-related issues since 1979.

Readjustment counseling includes a wide range of services to assist veterans in making a satisfying transition from military to civilian life. Services include individual counseling, group counseling, marital and family counseling, bereavement counseling, military sexual-trauma counseling and referral, employment counseling and guidance, medical referrals, alcohol and drug assessments, assistance in applying for VA benefits, information and referral to community resources, outreach and community education.

Military sexual-trauma counseling may include individual or group counseling, marital and family counseling, referral for benefits assistance, liaison with community agencies, and/or substance abuse information and referral to help veterans deal with the emotions of military sexual trauma and regain confidence in their everyday life.

If you are an interested provider for La Plata County, contact the Colorado Vet Center headquarters at (303) 393-2897 for more information.

Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or