WACO, TX — "The Veteran's One Stop is necessary," Ethelbert Broadnax said, standing outside the center in Waco.
"It's my opinion that they should have one in every state every county," he said. "Because there are veterans everywhere and there's veterans that need help everywhere."
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, mental health professionals say mental health services for veterans are needed more than ever. The Veteran's One Stop center is a place veterans in our community can go to for mental health related issues, among other things.
"We work in all areas of mental health needs," said Melinda Bonds, Associate Director of Behavior Health Services.
Bonds says they provide services not only to veterans but also to their family, relating to issues such as military sexual trauma, which may have occurred during the person's time serving our country.
"And also suicide prevention and maintenance, as well as substance abuse services," Bonds said. "We also have a lot of folks that come to us that have traumatic brain issues."
Bond calls Veteran's One Stop essential, and says they've been able to keep their doors open while maneuvering the expected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a time like this, Bond says the need for their services has been more apparent than ever.
Phillip Ludwig is a licensed counselor at Veteran's One Stop who helps veterans in our community everyday.
"Now we're seeing more people who are more marginalized than we'd normally because of the COVID conditions," he said.
Ludwig believes veterans in the community are well aware of the support Veteran's One Stop offers but hopes the word can get out more.
"Come by call, ask us questions. If you know a veteran and they're not willing to come, reach out. Reach out to us and see if we can reach out through the grapevine," he said.
Veteran's One Stop is currently open by appointment only. They are asking that visitors contact their main office ahead of visiting at (254)297-7171. You can find more information on the services they provide by visiting their website here.
If you're unsure of the kind of help you can also call Veteran's Affairs at 877-222-8383.