In the wake of another tragic shooting at Fort Hood Army Base in Texas, the Veteran’s Affairs office in Salt Lake City is reaching out to military veterans who are seeking mental health services and is trying to dispel any misconceptions about mental health and violence.
Reports say the gunman at Fort Hood who took four lives including his own and wounded 16 others during Wednesday’s shooting was being treated for depression and anxiety. Ashley Greenwell, a psychologist with the VA mental health clinic in Salt Lake City says the number of vets seeking mental health services can sometimes double after traumatic events like this one.
“Every Tuesday we have walk-in intake at 11 o’clock here on campus and after these major events where there is the publicity we do see larger numbers which is really great to catch things before they become a crisis,” Greenwell says.
Greenwell is asking the general public to stop short of drawing a direct link between mental health issues and violence and not to treat veterans like these scary people that are unstable or unsafe.
Greenwell notes the VA has plenty of resources available like the post-traumatic stress disorder assessment walk-in clinic she mentioned before.
“Whether it’s a small problem or you’re very concerned you don’t need to deal with this on your own,” Greenwell says. “A short course of treatment and then you can move on with your life.”
A mental health screening tool is also available online here.