Free counseling services are now available for veterans and their families in Idaho Falls.
The East Idaho Vet Center held a Wednesday open house for its new location in Idaho Falls on the third floor of the Joseph A. Clark building at 1000 Riverwalk Drive, suite 350. Dozens of community members and veterans attended to tour the Vet Center and learn about the various services that are available.
The Vet Center focuses on readjustment counseling for combat veterans and their families, said Cody De Los Reyes, east Idaho veteran outreach specialist. Veterans can come in for counseling for conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and the psychological effects of military sexual trauma. The center also refers veterans to other treatment centers and community resources if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, drug addiction or substance abuse.
“If you’re a combat veteran or a veteran that’s struggling with any other issue, don’t be afraid to come in or call to see what we can do to help you,” De Los Reyes said. “Veterans Day can bring back a lot of memories and our doors are open if (you) ever need to talk.”
The services are available for free to veterans, active-duty service members and their families. The Vet Center is part of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, which provides health care to more than 9 million veterans each year and seeks to “provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned,” according to the Veteran Affairs website.
Other counseling services that are available include grief and bereavement counseling, intimate partner violence support, returning service member care and women veteran care, according to the Veteran Affairs website.
“If there’s an active-duty guy that’s deployed for six months and his kids are having problems because dad’s gone then we can come in and do some counseling,” De Los Reyes said.
For 25 years, the Vet Center was located in Pocatello, De Los Reyes said. Vet Center leadership decided to relocate in order to be closer to a larger veteran population that was moving further north in the state, he said. The center still has outreach stations in Pocatello to serve the veterans in that area.
“The demographics have changed quite a bit in Idaho where the veterans have moved up to Idaho Falls and north,” De Los Reyes said. “We see veterans all the way from Jackson Hole, to Twin Falls, to Salmon and Malad. This is a more centered location and a better facility that has room for growth.”
The facility contains multiple conference rooms with the ability for clients or others to conference call. De Los Reyes said the center currently has three counselors but has the space to have six counselors available if the clientele needs that many. Currently, the center has about 300 clients, he said.
The Vet Center also hosts several reoccurring group events for veterans and their families. The center asks interested participants to call before coming in to assure events have not been canceled or moved due to COVID-19 restrictions.
• “I Got Your Six,” a spouse’s group held Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.
• “Boots On Ground,” an archery group held each Friday at 9 a.m. on 163 Northgate Mile.
• “Guitar Warriors,” a guitar group for players at all skill levels held each Wednesday at 3 p.m.
• “Battle Buddy,” a relationship group for veterans and their partners to learn how to identify and stop PTSD triggers held the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• “Coffee and Conversation” held every Thursday at 10 a.m. for veterans to meet others and talk with clinic staff.
• “Warhammer” tabletop miniature wargaming held every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Individuals can contact the Vet Center at 208-522-5712.