KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A mental health provider in Knoxville says it is seeing more need for mental health resources and counseling for veterans.
Staff at the McNabb Center's military outpatient clinic said they are receiving more referrals from places like Veteran Affairs because they are overwhelmed with the number of people looking for help.
Tony Weaver, a licensed professional counselor who dedicates much of his time to working with veterans, said post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most common mental health condition he sees in veterans.
"Typically, PTSD is characterized by symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, or even greater levels of rage, just avoiding sights, sounds, smells, things that could trigger memories of the events or event," Weaver pointed out. "And also the intrusive thoughts, which are very difficult, even usually being nightmares to night terrors and flashbacks."
Because they are seeing a significant need for help, Weaver said the McNabb Center and other mental health providers in East Tennessee are working to de-stigmatize mental health.
"We want the military folks to know that there is help, that for so long in the military culture it was stigmatized, it was not very macho, but we have to break down those barriers and get people to realize that there is life to live out here beyond the military," Weaver added.
Weaver said they are also seeing more veterans suffering from military sexual trauma, which is the term the VA uses to refer to sexual assault or harassment during military service. He mentioned they actually see more men getting help for that than women.
The McNabb Center offers free, confidential counseling services to veterans and their loved ones. The length of service or military rank does not prevent someone from qualifying.
Those interested in receiving counseling and mental health care are encouraged to call the McNabb Center at 865-541-6684.