Free mental health clinic for veterans and their families coming to Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Veterans and their families will soon have access to free mental health care. The Cohen Veterans Network will be opening a clinic to bring high-quality care in a warm environment to the Hampton Roads area by the end of the year.

"For us, it's the entire military family that's really important and we're very excited to be bringing our clinic to the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area," said Anthony Guido, who handles communications for the nonprofit foundation.

The foundation started in 2016 and was inspired by Steven Cohen's son who joined the United States Marine Corps. On April 6, 2016, Cohen put forward a $215 million commitment to create the network to help veterans and their families. The foundation's approach focuses on treating mental wounds with evidence-based mental health care along with access to comprehensive case management support and referrals to deal with other stresses including unemployment, finances, housing and legal issues.

"PTSD is about 20 percent of what we're treating but depression, anxiety, anger, marital problems, child behavioral problems - there's a whole range of really transitional challenges the military family goes through to move to the civilian world and we're really here for that," said Guido.

Earlier this year, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms mentioned the Cohen Veterans Network opening in his State of the City address, saying it will serve up to 600 post-9/11 veterans and their families with 20 employees. Guido said they hope to have a location for the clinic set by the end of May and be open by the end of the year to help veterans. They approach care differently than others.

"We try to break down those barriers by what we create. These warm, comfortable environments they're walking into. To break all barriers, the access for sure and financial. Our clinics are open nights and weekends too," said Guido. "If you call one of our clinics you go through intake process that same day. If you go through trouble or crisis you get your appointment that same day."

To learn more about the Cohen Veterans Network, head to their website.