Surry County officials are bringing a great resource for veterans to Mount Airy once a month.
Staff from the Greensboro Vet Center will be at the county’s veterans services department once a month, bringing a resource which was once more than an hour’s drive away to the doorstep of Surry County veterans.
Wednesday will be the vet center staff’s first trip to Mount Airy, according to veterans services director Mike Scott.
Though the vet center offers many programs for veterans, Scott said the focus of the traveling program will be mental health.
“Some veterans might choose not to seek care to avoid the long drive to Greensboro or even the V.A. (Veterans Affairs) clinic in Winston(-Salem),” explained Scott.
According to Scott, vet center counselors who travel to Surry County will provide services in the realm of helping veterans cope with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. Additionally, education programs for the spouses and family members of veterans will also be offered.
Scott said counselors at the vet center also bring something different to the table.
“Veterans are often proud and even stubborn. Many of them wouldn’t normally reach out in the area of mental health and there’s often a bit of a block there with doctors,” said Scott. “The vet center counselors have been there and done that. They are veterans too. There is a level of empathy and trust there.”
Scott said his department can accommodate any need for privacy. The vet center also has a mobile center it is able to bring to Surry County if it is needed.
The vet center has been attempting to expand into surrounding rural areas for some time now, according to Scott. He said his office and the center have been attempting to facilitate the once-a-month stop in Surry County.
According to Scott, the program is a bit of a “test platform” for both his department and the center. The interest level in Wednesday’s first visit will help determine what the needs of local veterans are.
The vet center counselors will be at Scott’s office, located at 1218 State Street in Mount Airy from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Scott said a schedule for future vet center visits will be determined shortly after Wednesday’s first visit.
Andy is a staff writer for the News and can be reached at 415-4698.