Mobile PTSD Winnebago – to help local combat veterans

| February 16, 2019

With more than 30,000 nonprofit veteran organizations in this country, the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks it’s a good idea to spend a bunch of money treating those veterans who caught the PTSD in a converted roadside Winnebago.

Combat veterans have seen and experienced things that civilians can’t even imagine. It takes a certain type of person to fight for their country, and it takes a certain type of professional to heal their minds when they come back home.

Summit County is endeavoring to bridge the gap between combat vets and counselors with a “mobile vet center,” which will station itself in Frisco once a month beginning in March.

Mobile vet centers were created as a way to bring the specialized counseling services that vets need to remote parts of the state like Summit, where such veteran services are not usually available. The centers provide a range of social and psychological services. That includes professional readjustment counseling, which helps veterans who have experienced trauma while serving make a successful transition to civilian life.

The population of Summit County, CO is less than 30,000.  Around 7% of the US population are veterans.  Its nearly impossible to say, but somewhere around 10% of veterans actually seen combat of some kind.  Of those, I will make a stab in the dark based on my experience, 75% served prior to 2000.

In Summit County Colorado there are around 50 actual combat veterans.  Again its impossible to come up with an accurate number but lets go high and say half of those have caught the PTSD.   Now lets assume that half of that number can not find a ride to the VA. (/sarc)

I am at the front of the line singing the praises of the current administration in regards to their improvements of the Veterans Administration.  If a county like Summit, CO is being given enough money to convert, staff and deploy an Urban Assualt Vehicle to wage war on PTSD so a half a dozen veterans can successfully transition to civilian life … the fruit we are getting from the tree is beginning to rot.

 

“We don’t have local counseling services specifically for veterans, and if they need those kind of services they usually need to go down to Denver or Grand Junction,” said Janet Wolfson, economic security programs manager for Summit County’s Human Services department. “The mobile vet center brings the counseling services to the veterans who need them.”

Wolfson said that the mobile center may also encourage combat veterans to seek services if they have been reluctant in the past.

“Veterans don’t always reach out for these kinds of services because they don’t always feel typical counselors will understand their needs based on their unique experiences,” Wolfson said. “Having the ability to connect veterans with counselors who understand their combat or military experience is very important.”

The mobile vet center comes in the form of a modified Winnebago with several rooms inside. It serves as an office where veterans can be screened, treated or referred to a specialist for a variety of conditions, including PTSD, depression, substance use disorders, sleep disorders and traumatic brain injuries. Once screened, veterans can be connected to specialized counselors with a secure video tele-health service.

“Tele-health can be much easier, as it allows veterans to express what is going on while maintaining their personal space,” said Duane Daily, veterans service officer for Grand and Summit counties. “It’s very successful and lets veterans open up in a safe, comfortable atmosphere.”

Maybe its just me, but the chances of me “opening up” to a counselor about my PTSD at some remote rest stop in the Rockies is directly proportional to the number of bears that refuse to shit in the woods.

Source: Mobile veteran’s counseling center to stop in Frisco to help local combat veterans | SummitDaily.com

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Health Care debate, Politics

Comments (54)

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  1. IDC SARC says:

    A mobile BJ Winnie would be exponentially more therapeutic.

  2. Mason says:

    They can park this next to the food trucks. I can get a fish taco and some counseling in the same Costco parking lot. We truly live in the future.

    • rgr769 says:

      If I see one in my Costo lot, I’m going to visit it and sign up for some of that sweet PTS of D money they are giving to all these VA scammers that were never within a thousand yards of a shot fired in anger or warfare. I should definitely qualify, having watched the AK rounds come through the floor of a Huey around my feet and having had to pick up body parts from the victims of an IED.

    • GDContractor says:

      I got my law degree at Costco.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    But, But, But,But Dave. It makes them feeeelzzz gooood about doing something. It also makes for a nice 45 second spot on the local news film. What you figure about 3/4 million USD for the Urban Assault Vehicle, outfitting and staffing? And that’s just the startup. Look to see if someone in VA has a Brother-in-Law in the Winnie banjo bidness.

    Yeah I see this helping those that need help. NOT!

  4. IDC SARC says:

    Nothing like pouring money into something that reinforces a negative stereotype. Can’t wait until I eventually get my ankle monitor in the interest of public safety. 🙂

    • 26Limabeans says:

      “reinforces a negative stereotype”

      It will get commandeered by a “typical” ptsd combat vet and a slow speed police chase will ensue. Later, Dave will pull a FOIA on the guy and come up dry.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    Are they going to offer vaccinations with that, too? I mean, if you’re doing the mobile thingy, go whole pig on it, not just one thing.

  6. Ret_25X says:

    The combat veteran demographic is probably around 60% DS/DS and OIF/OEF now if not higher.

    As WW2, Korea, and VN vets age, my generation of vets will be the “big group”.

    Lord help us.

  7. 2banana says:

    Maybe.

    Are they giving away free pizza and beer…?

  8. 26Limabeans says:

    Does it have a shitter?

  9. Skyjumper says:

    I guess I’m going to go against the grain on this one.

    VA Vet Centers have been around since 1979 have provided service to all era’s for combat vets.

    They provide both individual counseling & peer group meetings/counseling.

    In my experience,the vets that go there are there to seek help and learn how to learn/use tools on how to cope, not just to collect a disability check.

    Meetings/counseling are not mandatory.

    But, I have to admit, there are a fair number of vets that get diagnosed and then just take the money and run and never to be seen again. Those are the ones that I don’t have much use for…they’re only in it for the money.

    Family members are also eligible for their services.

    There are around 300 brick & mortar buildings located throughout all 50 states.

    I don’t know the exact number of mobile units they have, but my guess is around 75-100 vehicles of different sizes nationwide.

    Are they necessary? Depends on ones point of view.
    From my own experiences and of those people that I know & have met that have used them…..yes.

    Most of the counselors that are employed by the Vet Centers are vets with a fair number of those being combat vets from all different branches (and eras) of the military.

    Just my opinion.

    • Denise Williams says:

      I understand the issues some have with the optics on this. But…

      I am a huge supporter of and believer in The Vet Centers, because of who they are and their history.

      They began as a drop-in center for returning Vietnam combat vets. Other combat vets began offering counseling. They expanded. Then, they went to the VA and showed they were reaching the population and asked for funding. The VA said, naw, we got this.

      Fast forward, the VA comes knocking, offering funding. The Vet Center said great but…

      we will not share records with the VA without the express written permission of the veteran. Veterans who were getting services there counted on that absolute confidentiality so they didn’t get labeled and lose their jobs.

      The VA actually agreed. Now, everyone who works there is a VA employee, but records are not shared without permission. Very nearly every office (over 300, in all 50 States and 5 Territories) has at LEAST one combat veteran on staff, if not as a counselor than as a peer-leader for groups. Almost everyone who works there is a veteran, and I have yet to hear of a single poser. They ONLY offer services to combat veterans and their families, but will refer to outside, vetted (YMMV on that) civilian counselors.

      The services are free for life. There is no sharing of info. They will treat for PTSD with validated treatment modalities including CPT, CBT, EMDR and others without EVER issuing an official diagnosis so those who want or have a job can honestly mark/say “No, I’ve never been diagnosed with PTSD”.

      So… I get the questionable optics. The mobile services are really about outreach, and to go where there is no nearby office. Prior to 2011, it was ILLEGAL for The Vet Center to advertise yet they opened a couple hundred offices (and most are quite busy) by word of mouth alone. They are doing something right. Let’s just hope I can continue to make that statement in the future.

      • OWB says:

        Now I am seriously confused. The Vet Centers near me have no outward indication that they are anything other than full blown operations of the VA. Some are called Clinics, others just Vet Centers. Most Vets I know use the descriptors interchangeably so I really don’t know if either is correct, just that the buildings themselves proudly display VA seals/signage.

        Might this be another of those regional variations? (The autonomy of the regions appears to be a huge part of the problem with the VA, but that discussion is perhaps for another day.)

      • Dave Hardin says:

        I have many issues with their so called “outreach”. At the top of that list is the fact that they do not and could not know if the person who comes through the door is actually a combat veteran. Stating that they are primarily reaching out to combat veterans with PTSD limits the number of people that legitimately qualify. My position is that they are accepting nothing more than the baseless claims of hucksters and recognizing them as combat veterans. There simply are not that many combat veterans in Colorado let alone one county out in the middle of nowhere to justify this kind of thing.

        • Skyjumper says:

          Dave, I understand your doubts & share your concerns, but a vets word is not automatically taken as bible.

          Generally the vets have already been vetted by their local VA Service Officer before they are referred to the Vet Centers or they have already gone thru the VA process and received a disability rating for PTSD.

          Either the Vet Center or the VA Service Officer will send for your 201 file and any other info that they need before they accept you. NO info from the vet themselves is used to substantiate their military service time, it all has to come from official documentation & sources. (much like when TAH or other stolen valor sites vet a bogus vet but only in a greater amount of documentation).

          The Vet Centers DO NOT have the ability to award a vet a disability rating! They DO NOT award the vet any disability pay!
          They only thing that they offer is counseling whether individual or group, and I doubt that any fakers/posers would BS their way into only counseling with no pay check.

          As far as the outreach vehicles, they just are basically a roving office that will get the process going the same as if the vet went to his local VSO or walked into a Vet Center.

          The reason that there are outreach vehicles, is because many states only have a few brick & mortar Vet Centers which makes it almost impossible for a legit PTSD vet to seek help.

          A couple of examples are:
          Colorado: Two Vet Centers
          Wisconsin: Two Vet Centers

          I know we are tainted & pissed off over the number of vets (and non-vets) who falsely claim they have PTSD or used it as an excuse for their behavior.

          You, me and others here at TAH wouldn’t mind getting our hands on them & show them the error of their ways. But all in all, there are a fair number of legitimate vets who do need help for their issues.

          Personally, I have never heard of a poser being taken in up here in Cheeseheadland.

          Dave, I’m sure it’s possible that a poser could get accepted into the program, but the Vet Centers reliance on official records and documentation from official source make it pretty rare.

          • Dave Hardin says:

            I appreciate the effort you put into that response.

            There is no way the UAV has the records of the individual that climbs into it claiming PTSD. That is just not the case.

            I worked as one of only two counselors at the in-patient treatment center at Camp Lejeune. Suggesting that “treatment” for PTSD can be done in a Winnebago that roams the country side is…in my professional oppinion…silly.

            If you honestly think that system is not wrought full of people who claim Combat experience then you are not looking. In my professional opinion “MOST” of them are posers.

            What this nonsense does is create an environment where embellishing shit birds step forward for attention and feed the stereotype that Veterans are victims of their service.

            The picture included in that article has more people in it than there are combat veterans in that county.

            PTSD is overdiagnosed at epidemic levels. Even the doctor that created the diagnostic criteria for the DSM has been ranting about it.

            From what I observed working with PTSD patients, 1 in 10 or less actually have it. The rest are looking for a check and someone to kiss their ass.

            The few that actually do have it would crawl out of the mountains and do just about anything to make it go away.

            Do-gooders meaning well but doing little more than pissing money away and feeding a false narrative about military service should just stay at home.

            JMHO

  10. 1610desig says:

    I bumped into one of these four years ago in Thermopolis Wyoming (pop. 3000). I was more interested as a taxpayer than a veteran so came aboard and immediately got shaken down for my personal data so they could show a metric that I was “helped”. The “counselor” had some tribal dude hanging around being a windy pain in the ass who had been a “photographer for SEAL Team Six”….yeah, the whole scene stunk…

  11. OWB says:

    Oh, goody. The VA has found yet another way to spend money with little if anything actually being accomplished. RVs don’t drive or maintain themselves, so we have staff hired to do that, or pay non-employees to do it. Great return on investment. Uh-huh.

  12. RCAF-CHAIRBORNE says:

    Is this Winnebago called Eagle 5 and piloted by Barf?

  13. 5jc says:

    “Combat veterans have seen and experienced things that civilians can’t even imagine.”

    See and here it just happened again. I’m in the “Why?” ball park on this one.

    If they really cared; put together one of those vehicles with a doc and medical screeners on board. Drive through underserved areas and offer medical screening to those vets out in the sticks. Make appointments to treat people before they die. That kind of thing.

    I don’t have a pony in the race since I am TP-Ret but it seems they are an answer looking for a problem.

    “Its nearly impossible to say, but somewhere around 10% of veterans actually seen combat of some kind.”

    Not in the GWOT. Last I checked, about 5M served in the GWOT and less than 200K CABs,CIBs, CMBs and CARs were issued. This leaves out the AF pilots. But ground strike pilots are a pretty small group. So you are talking about 4-5%. That 5% includes some shady CABs for IDF and maybe some small number got left out. I think 5% is about right based upon my experiences in the GWOT, no more than 6% absolute top end. Since you can only get one CIB etc some of us got more than our fair share to make up for the rest of everyone. I can tell you in my city of 25K people I only know of one other GWOT actual combat vet. And I know a whole lot of people and many, many veterans. Including many who went to Iraq and Afghanistan. I do know a fair number of Vietnam Combat vets.

    Bob spent a lot of time on the FOB. If he caught the PTSD cuz Green Beans was out of latte then so be it. But 15 minutes in a roving RV isn’t going to fix such deep seated issues.

    If say 30% of the 200K number (worst case estimate) caught the PTSD then we are talking 60K people in the whole country. Now we are down to a very small population in a very big country. About 0.018% of the total population… and they are going to drive an RV around the countryside to do what exactly? In the random chance of hoping to find that 1 guy in a thousand?

    Someone got a block check on their annual review. End of story.

    • OWB says:

      There is a rather large white elephant in the room here. At the risk of causing angst amongst my fellows ’round here I am going to name that elephant just because.

      Yes, this is a military blog and as such tends to focus upon items and issues which are militarycentric. As it should be, of course.

      On the other hand, when discussing things which cause residual physchotrauma, combat veterans are hardly the only people who see things no one should have to see and then deal with what they have seen but cannot unsee. Pretending that those in the military are the only people subject to long term mental damage really doesn’t serve any of us.

      What about ER docs who routinely try to put back together injuries that no one should have to see. How’s about the detectives who investigate murders, the coroners, the firefighters, paramedics and perhaps most especially the investigators who must talk with little children about their injuries when they were sexually abused? And what about the people who type up all those reports – are they undamaged by what they imagined beyond what was reported? And these are just some of the many people who routinely or fairly routinely deal with images which are not soon forgotten and often have a very real and very negative impact on that person’s life.

      All just to say that while we mostly see our own situation as unique, we may not be as unique as we believe. Just because your neighbor, friend, or coworker is not a veteran does not mean he or she can’t relate to your experiences.

      (I offer into evidence the fact that we have several commenters here and I would suspect even more readers from the fire service, police, and medical fields who come here not because they are stalkers but because they feel the kindred spirit we have with them. Not having their permission to do so, I am intentionally avoiding naming any of them.)

      • 1610desig says:

        Yep….i have a young nephew who, as a volunteer firefighter, has seen much more than I have seen…typically pulling broken people out of auto wrecks just to have them expire on him…he doesn’t get to bitch about PTSD…his mother died similarly when he was a child…the “kid” stoutly faces his demons…it tears me up to see many vets using PTSD as an excuse for personal failings or to seek attention

        • Outcast says:

          Good comment as to Vets, will have to remember what you say next time I talk to my neighbor. Luckily when he did go to the DVA they treated him like he was something stuck on the bottom of their shoe and did not join. I don’t know if he has any PTSD problems as he never talks about his time. Course, like you seem to know all about things that went on over there, he never was on the, pre determined here, front lines in VN for any real length of time, he just sat in the back of a chopper and jumped out, loaded wounded and dead and jumped back in to try to help save some of them, course he only spent 3 months in country and was med evaced out when the chopper was shot down. Yep if you weren’t in a place where you spent 24/7 waiting for incoming you never were threatened thus no PTSD. Maybe you should have walked in their shoes. Me I’m just an outsider as records that were kept on file (computer) only show part of what was there as many others have found out. Figure since I pointed this out to them they have had someone working on the Delete button and paper shredder correcting the rest so there are no records what so ever, after all I am pitching mine here so files kept and deleted match.

          • Outcast says:

            So now the rest of you can now give your snide comments, 51 years ago today (17 th) Kenny was KIA in VN as was Carlton on the 14th. No this worthless bum could not attend the funerals as was indisposed working at my job, which was also a failed effort as one can witness on my behalf by going to DC and see it there.

      • 5jc says:

        I made a lot of reference to the combat side of things because that is what Dave led with and that seems to be the focus and intent of the resource, to deal with combat veterans. Sure people get traumatized plenty of different ways.

        I retired on a Friday and on Monday I put on a blue uniform with a badge a gun. After five years I have seen a bit but there is no Department of Former First Responder Affairs. A blessing really.

        The guys I work with are all awesome. But if they are not former/ current military they don’t seem to relate as well or understand as well. It is a different thing. I am not going to go in to all the differences but it is pretty different.

        • OWB says:

          Oh, I get that, most definitely, and I certainly am not trying to pick on you specifically. The focus around here is and should always be on military experiences.

          My reaction is simply that there are many more folks around us who absolutely can relate to our experiences than most of us might imagine. Most of them may not be vets or even combat vets.

      • Green Thumb says:

        Agreed.

        I knew a Coroner once. Female, Older. Reservist, I think?

        She never set foot in the box. She was in Italy(I think?).

        Her job was to open the bag, put the boys back together, dress them up (when possible) zip it up and send them home.

        Fucked this woman up royally.

        I was Light and have all of the requisite bling. I get it.

        So I can say that this woman will always have a seat at my table. Tough chick.

      • FOMSG says:

        Two words:

        Graves Registration

  14. Sparks says:

    I know how this works. You step into the front door and sign in. You walk down the line and there’s a nurse next to a sign that reads “Prozac 20MG…free, handjobs…$1”. So the vet says “Hey Mable, are you the lady who gives the handjobs?” She replies “Yes I am”. He says, “Good, then wash them hands and give me a Prozac.” Exits rear door and feels much better.

  15. OldManchu says:

    Maybe they can ride around on the 4th of July and New Years Eve and stop at all the “no fireworks – combat veteran lives here” signs. A match made in heaven. A ratio of knock to sell success that even the best door to door sales people have not achieved.

    • Outcast says:

      Nah, I disagree manchu, drive around on the fourth and look for the no fireworks signs pretend you are VA and have them come outside to talk and while they do set off a bunch of fire works behind him and laugh your ass of at him as you watch him react. PTSD is just a big joke to everyone in the US as to they diagnose it for everything.

  16. Outcast says:

    Interesting, 30,000 X .07= 2100 vets, 2100 X .10 =210, 210 X .75 = 157.5, so call it 158 leaves 52, of these they put a cap on income to belong to the VA, so just roughly 5 earn more so that puts the number at 47. Sure seems there are a lot of vets there that are not in the VA or registered with DVA. but then maybe some tried early on and were met with hatred or other problems with the system. But then I am an outsider so I won’t comment other than Mobile clinics are probably ok if you do not mind there only being at most 2 RN’s and an EMT type, everything else is not a human there, it is telehealth and you talk to a PA or PRN or see a Psychologist via a television conference, all I have ever talked to, never once has seen a Actual Doctor at one of these.

  17. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Thanks. I am good!

    I have a Weber in the backyard with 2 wheels.

    We keep her clean, works great throughout the year.

    Bought her in 2007.

    • 3/10/MED/ b says:

      I have a Weber myself, Gallatin, open tuning to work with my warped hands.
      Sorry, Sir, no disrespect intended. I love that mandolin, and when I see “Weber”, my eyes get big and glossy.
      Happy grilling and playing to us all.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        I had a Weber on my 76 Sportster that kept burning my pants every time it would backfire while coming off a red light. It was open the throttle, wait for the fuel, then bang and flame.

  18. Green Thumb says:

    I caught the PTSD in my two-hole.

    What the fuck?

    Stupid.