Staff from the Lake Nona VA met with nonprofits to discuss mental health resources available to veterans as part of a summit at the site.
VA Hospital psychologist Dr. Steve Shea says veterans in need of addiction services have several options.
Vets can walk into any VA clinic or vet center and get help. They can also go to AA or NA in any community in Florida.
And there are treatments available at the VA Hospital.
“We have psychotherapies we use the twelve step programs. We use medical detoxes. We hit substance abuse with everything we’ve got,” Shea said.
A study from the Department of Veterans Affairs found almost 20 percent of vets with PTSD sought treatment for substance abuse.
The same study found about 10 percent of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone regardless of PTSD status had addiction problems.
Susan Deguzman of the Wounded Warriors Project says that’s problematic as many veterans don’t reach out when they need help.
“They tend to isolate," she said. "That tends to create more depression and anxiety. Unfortunately the warriors aren’t going out and getting treatment.”
Johanna Trottier, also with the Wounded Warriors Project, says services available to veterans include retreats and counseling.
“We run something called the Warrior retreat. We can get counseling not just to the veteran but to the family. To make the transition easier to the families in civilian life,” Trottier said.
Veterans can contact the organization at 888-997-2586 or go on their website to learn more about available support. According to The Department of Veterans Affairs, there were 557 veteran suicides in Florida in 2015.