As we honor those who served our country this Veterans Day, it is a reminder that many veterans and military personnel face complex mental health and well-being challenges.
“Having served honorably in the U.S. Marine Corps, I have remained committed to honoring our veterans by giving them the recognition they deserve – putting the needs of others over self,” says Chief Strategy Officer Jim Balla, MBA, who served in the United State Marine Corps. “One of the ways is through my work with a remarkable behavioral healthcare agency, Pacific Clinics, that provides our veterans and their families with critically-needed services and support.”
The experiences during tours of duty can make the transition back to life at home difficult. It is all too common for returning service members to feel stress, sleep and addictive disorders as well as experience significant symptoms of distress, including PTSD. Yet fewer than 50 percent of those in need receive help, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. And the National Institute of Drug Abuse has found that between 37 and 50 percent of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with substance use disorders.
Pacific Clinics’ predecessor agency, Portals, was founded in Los Angeles to serve World War II veterans and their families. Today, veterans can access Pacific Clinics’ diverse behavioral health and support services, ranging from substance use disorder and mental health programs to housing and employment assistance.
“Like people from all backgrounds, veterans and their families often have an interrelated set of needs that must be addressed holistically,” said Senior Clinical Director Candy Curiel, EdD, LMFT. “A veteran may have PTSD, which has contributed to housing or food insecurity, for instance. We aim to work with each veteran or family to identify where they need support and provide solutions together.”
Pacific Clinics also operates a program specially designed for active and retired military personnel, reservists and National Guard members and their families in the Inland Empire. The Military Services & Family Supports Program in Yucca Valley and Redlands offers free and confidential mental health services, family and couples therapy and substance use disorder assistance. A Vets Assisting Vets Program brings active-duty members and veterans together for peer-to-peer support.
“I’m very proud of all the life-changing and life-saving services we provide to approximately 25,000 Californians each year,” Balla says. “Knowing that we are honoring and uplifting service members and their families who have sacrificed so much is with tremendous personal gratitude and respect as we recognize Veterans Day.”
To learn more about our Military Services & Family Supports Program, call (760) 228-9657.