BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – As the situation in Afghanistan continues to unfold, dramatic images are being broadcast throughout the world. There is a new push to provide resources to Veterans who might be affected by what they are witnessing. “The Fox Valley Veterans Council also has a secondary mission as a CVEB, which is a directive from the Federal VA as a Community Veterans Engagement Board,” explains Zach Zabel. Zabel says when a Veteran comes in for assistance, they also have the opportunity to ask for help with mental care. “Part of that mission is to become and maintain a status as a resource for Veterans in our area,” adds Zabel.
Those resources include help with housing and bills. They can also direct Veterans to local mental health experts if needed. “If a Veteran would come to us with a financial need and part of that initial intake interview and the Veteran would mention something along the lines of the need for counseling or any sort of mental health support, we would direct them to community resources particularly the VA which we are geographically close to,” says Zabel.
In Brown County, services are available in the form of peer-to-peer counseling. “We discuss with them what they are struggling with and then hook them up to counseling services,” says Joe Aulik, Brown County Veterans Administrator. Aulik says emotional support is always there. “These services are free and can help you work through those emotions,” adds Aulik. The events in Afghanistan could be triggers for Veterans, especially those who served there or lost a fellow soldier in the 20-year-old war.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a section on their website, that shares stories of Veterans from past wars, helping Veterans of current wars. Oftentimes, the hardest part is asking for help. “The VA is in tune to what our Veterans are dealing with, so it’s kind of a specialized area so they understand what Veterans are dealing with,” says Aulik. If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, you can call 1-800-273-8255. There is no shame in reaching out and asking for help.