By TYLER MASK
On Friday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2399 in Mineral Wells put on their third annual North Texas Health Fair.
Free medical services including cholesterol checks, blood sugar checks, blood pressure checks and more were provided.
Beyond just medical services, many local healthcare professionals were present to inform veterans of some of the benefits they can receive for having served their country.
“There’s a lot of different things that these veterans don’t know,” VFW Service Officer Lee B. Downs said. “So, we are bringing the information to them.”
Pecan Valley Centers for Behavioral and Developmental Disorders HealthCare was one of the professional initiatives present. One of their main goals at the fair was to raise awareness about local services provided for veterans battling various mental and emotional conditions that can come from war. Among the services showcased at the event was support groups.
“[Support groups] are peer-to-peer,” PVC Veteran Services Coordinator Robin Greer said. “It is veterans conducting support groups for other veterans,”
According to Greer, the support groups, although peer-to-peer, are well-thought-out and consist of trained volunteers who facilitate the sessions.
Greer stressed the fact that the trained peers are not counselors, they simply facilitate. And despite some social stigmas regarding support programs, the support groups PVC is involved with don’t require individuals to put themselves in the spotlight – although they do offer large support groups as well.
“With the peer support groups, if you have two or more people together discussing the same topic, that’s considered a group,” Greer said. “If a veteran has issues and they don’t really want to go sit in front of [a crowd] – [For instance], they [envision Alcohol Anonymous] meetings where they get in front of 15 people and have to say ‘I am an alcoholic’ – it is not like that at all. They can sit down one-on-one with a peer who has been through the same experiences that they have and talk about [them].”