The Scranton Vet Center is making it easier for veterans who live in Carbon County to get the mental health help they need. Every Wednesday, starting September 14, area veterans can make appointments for in-person counseling at the Veterans Hub of Northeastern PA, which is located on St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Lehighton Campus.
Denise Carey, MSW, LCSW, a licensed social worker and Director of the Scranton Vet Center, will be at the Veterans Hub to offer counseling to those who request it. Appointments are necessary.
Christine M. LeClair, director of Veterans Affairs, Carbon County, said that Carbon County Veterans Affairs is fortunate to partner with St. Luke’s and Scranton Vet Center “to empower community members, local leaders, organizations, family and friends to take action against veteran suicide.”
LeClair said the partnership “plans to equip our community with the tools and resources it needs to connect veterans who are experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis with lifesaving support.” LeClair also said that she believes “having this local, in-person option for counseling is key to addressing the stigma, normalizing mental health care, and providing that specialized care that our veterans deserve.”
Carey agreed: “We, at the Vet Center, are proud and honored to be a part of the Veterans Hub. The Hub allows for eligible Veterans to have convenient access to readjustment counseling services without having to drive to Wilkes-Barre or Scranton. It is my pleasure and honor to work with St. Luke’s and Christine LeClair in this important endeavor.”
To make an appointment, veterans should call the Scranton Vet Center at 570-344-2676.
New Veterans Hub at St. Luke’s Lehighton
The new Veterans Hub of Northeastern PA is located on the first floor of the Lehighton campus. A grand opening ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, November 10. Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP for the grand opening ceremony, call 570-325-3986.
The Hub is being dedicated to Chad Peyton, a friend of LeClair’s, with whom she served in the Army and who tragically died by suicide last May. “Our tagline for the Hub is: ‘Here you will find Compassion, Hope, Advocacy and Direction,’” LeClair said.
Accredited Veteran Service Officers (VSO) also will be available at the Veterans Hub by appointment to file claims for local, state and federal veteran benefits.
Pennsylvania serves nearly 800,000 veterans – which is the fourth largest veteran population in the country. About 47,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States, but military veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than non-veterans. For female veterans, the risk factor is 2.2 times more likely.